Deontay Wilder Might Be America’s Next Great Heavyweight (#GotBitcoin?)
Deontay Leshun Wilder (born October 22, 1985) is an American professional boxer. He has held the WBC heavyweight title since 2015, and in doing so became the first American world heavyweight champion in nine years, which was the longest period of time in boxing history without an American heavyweight champion. Deontay Wilder Might Be America’s Next Great Heavyweight (#GotBitcoin?)
As an amateur he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 2008 Olympics. This led to his nickname of “The Bronze Bomber”, which Wilder coined after Joe Louis, who was known by the nickname of “The Brown Bomber”.
Wilder is particularly known for his formidable punching power, having finished all but two of his fights inside the distance. His knockout-to-win ratio stands at 95%, with 19 knockouts in the first round. He is a two-time winner of the Premier Boxing Champions Knockout of the Year award, in 2016 and 2017.
As of December 2018, Wilder is ranked as the world’s second best active heavyweight by BoxRec, and third best by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and The Ring magazine. He is the 15th longest reigning world heavyweight champion of all time, and has the 9th longest combined and individual title streaks in modern heavyweight boxing history at eight and seven title bouts, respectively.
Wilder started boxing in October 2005 when he entered Skyy Boxing Gym in Northport, Alabama and began training under Jay Deas. Wilder was 20 at that time.
By 2007 he upset the favorites to win both the National Golden Gloves and the US championships at 201 lb (91 kg).
At the Golden Gloves he defeated highly touted cadet world champion Isiah Thomas – a southpaw from Detroit – and David Thompson, of Brooklyn, NY in the finals. At the U.S. championship he defeated Quantis Graves and won the final 31–15 over southpaw James Zimmerman of San Jose, Calif.
At the Olympic trials he beat Graves twice more and won the Olympic trials in only 21 bouts. Early in 2008 he scored a career-best win by edging out World championships silver medalist and future Olympic champion Rakhim Chakhiyev in Russia. He qualified for the Olympics by beating Deivis Julio 6:5 Jorge Quinones from Ecuador on double countback and Brazilian Rafael Lima 6:5 at the qualifier.
Wilder then competed at heavyweight in the 2008 Olympics, defeating Abdelaziz Touilbini of Algeria and Mohamed Arjaoui of Morocco before losing to Clemente Russo of Italy in the semi-final to earn a bronze medal.
Wilder Had An Approximate Amateur Record Of: 30-5.
Boxing At The 2008 Summer Olympics:
Defeated Abdelaziz Toulbini (Algeria) 10:4
Defeated Mohamed Arjaoui (Morocco) 10+:10 (Tiebreaker Criteria)
Lost To Clemente Russo (Italy) 1:7
World Championship Results
2007 AIBA World Boxing Championships:
Lost To Krzysztof Zimnoch (Poland) 20-23 (10/24/2007)
Wilder made his debut at the age of 23 on November 15, 2008, at the Vanderbilt University Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee. He knocked out Ethan Cox in the second round. Cox was knocked down three times in the second round before the fight was eventually stopped. Wilder fought seven times in 2009, winning all the fights in round 1. By October 2012, Wilder racked up an impressive 25-fight win streak, winning all by knockout and all within four rounds. Some notable stoppages included former WBA heavyweight title challenger Owen Beck (27-10, 20 KOs), former WBO light heavyweight title challenger DeAndrey Abron (15-6, 10 KOs) and former WBO heavyweight challenger Damon Reed (46-15, 32 KOs).
Wilder won his first title in professional boxing when he knocked out then unbeaten 37 year old Kelvin Price (13-0, 6 KOs) at the Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, on December 15, 2012. The fight was originally slated to take place in August 2012. Wilder fought patiently through the first two rounds and mostly measured Price. The fight ended when a right hand from Wilder caught Price on the jaw and sent him back into the ropes and down. He attempted to get to his feet, but struggled which led referee Ray Corona to wave an end to the bout. Wilder claimed the vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title, which he went on to successfully defend twice.
Rise Up The Ranks
On April 3, 2013, Golden Boy Promotions confirmed that Wilder would fight former European heavyweight champion and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison (31-6, 23 KOs) at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, his UK debut, on April 27. Harrison was coming into this fight looking to rebuild after winning the prizefighter heavyweight tournament two months earlier. The card, which was being shown live on Showtime in USA, was headlined by Amir Khan’s return in the UK against Julio Diaz. Harrison informed the boxing world that he would retire if he lost. Wilder knocked out Harrison in round 1. Wilder found an opening 49 seconds into the opening round and caught Harrison with a big right hand that rocked him back into the ropes. A follow up barrage from Wilder sent Harrison into the corner, crumpling onto the floor. Harrison used the ropes to get to his feet at the count of eight, but referee Terry O’Connor waved an end to the bout. The official time of stoppage was 1:22 of the first round. Four days after the fight, Harrison announced his retirement at the age of 41 years.
On May 9, Frank Warren announced a card that would take place at the Wembley Arena in London on June 15, 2013, which would feature Wilder and British boxer Dereck Chisora as the main event. Prior to the announcement, Golden Boy and Wilder’s camp stated there was no deal in place. The fight fell through after Wilder was arrested in May following a domestic assault in Las Vegas, Nevada. Days later, Wilder signed Al Haymon as his new advisor.
In June, Golden Boy announced Wilder would return to the Stateside and main event a triple header of a Showtime card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California against former WBO heavyweight champion Siarhei Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs) on August 9, 2013 in a 10-round bout. Liakhovich would fight for the first time in nearly a year and half. Wilder knocked Liakhovich out in the first round. Wilder caught Liakhovich with a big right hand, while Liakhovich was backed against the ropes, he went down heavily and began twitching. The referee waved an end to the bout without beginning a count. Liakhovich was kept down for some time in the ring, before being helped to a stool. Days after the fight, Liakhovich filed a protest to change the outcome as ‘no contest’ citing that Wilder hit him with illegal punches. Liakhovich claimed he was punched behind the ear and neck area.
Two months later in October, Wilder knocked out Nicolai Firtha (21-10-1, 8 KOs) in four rounds to maintain his knockout streak. Prior to the stoppage, Firtha was dropped twice in the opening round.
In February 2014 it was announced that Wilder would fight 33 year old American boxer Malik Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs) in an eliminator for the WBC heavyweight title. The fight took place on the undercard of Garcia-Herrera at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Puerto Rico on March 15. When the fight was first announced, Wilder was #3 in the WBC ratings while Scott was #26. By the time the fight took place, Wilder was still ranked #3 and Scott was ranked #23. Wilder knocked out Scott at 1:36 of the first round. Wilder started off with slow jabs and the knockout blow appeared to be a straight right hand, which many believe didn’t connect clearly. There was an instant reaction from the crowd and on social media regarding how the fight ended. Scott was said to be unhappy about reports that he took a dive and congratulated Wilder. This set Wilder up as mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight title held by new champion Bermane Stiverne, who had defeated Chris Arreola for the title vacated by the retiring Vitali Klitschko.
In August 2014, Wilder fought journeyman and former Prizefighter finalist Jason Gavern (25-16-4, 11 KOs) in a 10-round bout. The fight took place at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on the undercard of the IBF welterweight fight between Shawn Porter and Kell Brook fight. Gavern was knocked down in rounds three and four. His corner threw in the towel after round four giving Wilder another stoppage victory in as many fights.
WBC Heavyweight Champion
Wilder vs. Stiverne
Beating fellow American Malik Scott by first-round knockout, in March 2014, set up his position as mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight title held by new champion Bermane Stiverne, who had defeated Chris Arreola for the title vacated by the retiring Vitali Klitschko. On January 17, 2015, billed as ‘Return to Glory’, Wilder fought Stiverne at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He made his dream a reality by winning the WBC heavyweight title from the defending champion by unanimous decision after twelve rounds. The three official judges scored it 118–109, 119–108, and 120–107. Stiverne landed 110 of 327 punches (34%) with Wilder landing 227 of 621 punches (37%). Wilder had some big rounds, particularly rounds 2 and 7, where he threw a barrage of power shots. Wilder showed that he could go 12 rounds and utilized his jab throughout. This was the first real proof to critics that Wilder could go the distance and could box, as up to that point he had finished all opponents inside the distance. After the fight, Wilder dedicated his win to his disabled daughter, and to his boxing hero Muhammad Ali, who had turned 73 years old that same day. The fight averaged 1.24 million viewers, peaking at 1.34 million on Showtime. According to the NSAC, Wilder earned $1 million and Stiverne received $910,000. Shortly after the fight, Wilder cut his relationship with Golden Boy Promotions and Al Haymon became his new manager.
On May 8, 2015, Wilder announced that he would make his first defense in his homestate of Alabama., which would be the first heavyweight title fight held in the state. Wilder last fought in Alabama in 2012. Showtime confirmed they would televise the bout live on June 13 at Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama. Shortly after, WBC #14 Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KOs) was announced as Wilder’s opponent. After receiving some backlash for choosing Molina as his first defence, Wilder claimed there were other options, with asking prices that were too high. Molina was aiming to become the first Mexican-American world heavyweight champion in history. A sold-out crowd of 9,347 was announced. Wilder dominated, knocking down Molina near the end of round four, twice in the fifth, and knocking him out onto his back in the ninth round. Wilder showed respect for Molina after the bout, stating “I was really surprised he kept coming and hanging in there. A lot of people said he wouldn’t even be around, he wouldn’t last. There were a lot of doubters, but he showed a lot of heart, and I needed that kind of guy to fight here in Alabama.” Wilder was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of stoppage: 90–77, 89–78, and 89–78. According to Compubox Punch stats, Wilder landed 141 of 303 thrown (47%) whilst Molina landed just 49 of 188 (26%). The fight aired on Showtime and averaged 678,000 viewers. Wilder earned $1.4 million for the fight compared to Molina, who received a $250,000 purse.
In August 2015, it was announced that Wilder would make his second defense against WBC #12 Johann Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs) on September 26 at the Legacy Arena, Alabama. In front of a hometown crowd of 8,471 in attendance, Wilder beat Duhaupas by TKO in the 11th round. Duhaupas, who was battered and bloodied claimed he still had plenty of fight left when referee Jack Reiss waved off his brave challenge. Duhaupas had never been stopped before in his career inside the distance. It was a very one sided fight, after taking punishment in round 7, referee Jack Reiss went over to Duhaupas’ corner telling him he would need to do more or he would stop the fight. Wilder was ahead on all judges scorecards at the time of stoppage 100–90, 99–90, and 99–91. Wilder landed 326 of 587 punches thrown (56%), whilst Duhaupas landed 98 of 332 (30%). In the post fight, Wilder praised Duhaupas’ toughness, “We knew he was tough. We knew he was mentally tough. We knew he was going to come. That’s why you can’t criticize nobody you don’t know. The most scariest people are the ones you don’t know.” For the fight, Wilder made $1.4 million and Duhaupas earned a $140,000 purse.The fight was the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC and averaged 2.2 million viewers, peaking at 3 million viewers.
In December, Showtime confirmed that terms had been agreed for WIlder to defend his WBC title against Polish boxer Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) on January 16, 2016, at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, where the winner would eventually fight WBC mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. A crowd of 12,668 mostly pro-Polish fans was announced. Szpilka looked very strong as the bout began, and won the first three rounds with his awkward southpaw stance, rapid foot movement, and unique talent of slipping punches. Szpilka made Wilder appear somewhat wild with his punches, as Wilder missed 175 punches thrown at Szpilka, mostly head punches. Entering round nine, Szpilka, aware from the ring commentators he could no longer win the fight on the cards, changed strategy and took a gamble. Going to the inside, Szpilka swung for the rafters, but Wilder read Szpilka and landed first with a powerful right hand to the face. Szpilka fell suddenly to the canvas knocked out, both fighters appeared horribly out of position. Unconscious on the canvas, Szpilka’s head jerked backwards in a reflex motion, the frightful moment abruptly ending the competitive contest and sending the ringside physicians and emergency medical personnel immediately into the ring. Wilder reportedly earned a career-high $1.5 million compared to Szpilka who had a $250,000 purse. The fight averaged 500,000 viewers and peaked at 623,000 viewers.
After the fight, newly crowned heavyweight champion Tyson Fury entered the ring going face to face in a heated verbal exchange with Wilder, calling him out. In the post fight press conference, Wilder gave himself a 5 on a scale of 10 for his performance. Wilder was not in a celebratory mood and claimed his concerns for Szpilka meant he was not in the mood for the confrontation with Fury at the time. The bout over, Wilder explained “We risk our lives in there for your entertainment. I want to knock my opponents out, but not hurt them. I want them to be able to go home to their family.” Szpilka regained consciousness before leaving the ring on a stretcher, and recovered. The knockout was voted ‘Knockout of The Year’ by Premier Boxing Champions.
Wilder vs. Povetkin Cancelled Fight
Wilder was due to make the fourth defense of his WBC heavyweight title against former WBA champion and mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) on 21 May 2016 at the Megasport Arena in Moscow, Russia. Povetkin was considered by many to be Wilder’s toughest opponent to date, and was on a four-fight knockout streak since suffering his only defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in late 2013. Wilder didn’t seem to be worried by the defense and saw this as a big name in the Heavyweight division that he could add to his legacy, “Going to Russia is going to be nothing for me, I’m going to treat it like it’s the U.S. because at the end of the day, it’s one man, one ring. When I knock him out and come back, it’s going to bring my legacy even bigger than it is now.” He also added, “I think this is going to be an easier fight than Stiverne, I really believe that. To be proven wrong, we’re going to find out.” World of Boxing promoter Andrey Ryabinsky won the rights for the fight with a winning purse bid of $7.15 million, higher than the $5,101,000.42 bid from Lou DiBella. Due to the 70-30 split, Wilder was looking at a minimum $4,504,500, a career-high payday.
However, a week before the fight on May 14, it was reported that Povetkin had tested positive for the banned substance meldonium. Promotor Andrei Ryabinsky added that Povetkin did take meldonium 2015, but stopped before it was banned, and only “leftover traces of meldonium at a very low concentration (70 nanograms)” were found in a blood sample given by the 36-year-old last month. Hours after, Wilder and his team skipped their flight to Moscow, the WBC, having little choice with the titleholder preparing to return home, postponed the fight. Jay Deas, Wilder’s manager and trainer, said the fight is off as did promoter Lou DiBella. Andrey Ryabinskiy, promoter for Povetkin, claimed the fight would take place at a later date. Wilder claimed he is still interested in fighting and beating Povetkin in the future, as this was a fight he had trained hard for and was hoping to make a statement against an elite heavyweight. On February 14, 2017, Wilder won $7 million plus legal fees after taxes, in court, over the cancellation of the fight.
Wilder vs. Arreola
Following Wilder’s return to USA, on May 26, former two-time world title challenger Chris Arreola (36-4-1-2, 31 KOs) became the front runner to challenge Wilder. At the time, Arreola was not ranked by the WBC because he had tested positive for marijuana after his fight against Travis Kauffman. His 90-day suspension ended in March 2016 and was likely to re-enter the WBC rankings. By June 13, the fight was confirmed and would take place on July 16, 2016 at the Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama. For the fight, Wilder wore white trunks with black trim, featuring a portrait of his personal idol and the late heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali. The attendance at the arena was announced 11,974. Wilder dominated the entire fight with his sharp jab, which caused severe swelling to Arreola’s left eye. In the fourth round, Wilder connected with a heavy right cross that knocked Arreola down. Finally, after eight one-sided rounds, Arreola’s cornermen informed the referee to stop the contest. The official verdict, an eight-round retirement victory for Wilder. After the fight, Wilder stated he had broken his right hand and torn his biceps during the fight. Wilder was ahead 80–71, 80–71, and 79–72 on the scorecards at the time of stoppage. According to CompuBox statistics, Wilder landed 152 of 346 punches (44 percent), and Arreola landed 52 of 188 (28 percent). For the fight, Wilder earned $1.4 million to $150,000 which was received by Arreola. The fight averaged 1.8 million viewers on Fox, with the whole telecast averaging 1.45 million viewers.
According to promoter Lou DiBella, Wilder spent most of the night at UAB Hospital. He would be back at the hospital soon, likely for two surgeries, one to repair each injury. This ruled him out for the remainder of 2016. “Deontay is definitely out for the remainder of the year, but we will know more in the next few days,” DiBella said.
Wilder vs. Washington
Wilder announced in November that he had fully recovered and was back in training following surgery. His return fight would likely be early 2017. In December, Peter Fury announced there were active talks to get Hughie Fury a world title fight against Wilder for the first quarter of 2017. Fury wouldn’t be considered as a voluntary due to being ranked at number 26 by the WBC, but Peter hoped Fury would be bumped into the top 15 after the WBC convention in December.
On December 21, 2016, according to Wilder’s manager Jay Deas, there were advance talks for a fight to take place on February 25, 2017, at the Legacy Arena in Alabama against 29 year old two-time Polish heavyweight champion and former world title challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk (33-1, 19 KOs). Wawrzyk was on a six-fight knockout streak, with a win in his most recent fight over veteran Albert Sosnowski, since losing his only fight to Alexander Povetkin, inside the distance in May 2013. Terms were agreed to a day later as the date and venue were confirmed on December 29. After announcing Wawrzyk as his opponent, Wilder received criticism from fellow boxers, boxing experts and fans for choosing “an easy fight”, having yet another voluntary defense and not fighting a top level heavyweight. On December 29, Wilder spoke about the criticism, not believing Wawrzyk should be written off, stating, “I don’t believe ‘You’re going to suck because I don’t know you’, that’s just the ignorance of your average boxing fan … I wish fans would stop criticizing fighters because it takes a lot to get in the ring.” Wilder used Manny Pacquiao as an example for when he was little known.
On January 25, 2017, it was reported that Wawrzyk had failed a drug test, ruling him out of the fight. With a month to go until the fight, Wilder was determined that he would find a replacement to fight him on short notice and not postpone the fight card. Luis Ortiz put himself forward for the fight only to be shot down due to him failing drug tests in the past. Tyson Fury also put himself forward. A day later it was reported that 35 year old Gerald Washington (18-0-1, 12 KOs) was in the lead of landing the world title fight. It was announced on January 30, 2017, that Washington would face Wilder on February 25th.
In front of a hometown crowd of 12,346, Wilder won by TKO in round 5. Washington started off strong with power punches as Wilder moved around with jabs. Midway through the 5th, Wilder got Washington against the ropes and landed a combination of power shots, the last shot being a left to the head of Washington, dropping him backwards against the ropes. Washington recovered quickly on unsteady legs. The fight resumed, and Wilder unloaded heavy blows the head of Washington eventually leading referee Michael Griffin to halt the fight at 1 minute and 45 seconds of the round. Wilder credited his patience in the post fight interview, “I knew he was going to come in excited to fight for a world title. I just kept calm and found my rhythm. I knew he was going to tire out, and when he did, I took advantage. It was all about timing. I’m very smart in the ring when it comes to using different tactics.” At the time of stoppage, one judge had the fight 39-37, whilst the remaining two judges had the fight 38-38 after four rounds. Washington earned $250,000 from the fight while Wilder earned $900,000. CompuBox Stats showed that Wilder landed 33 of 113 punches thrown (29%) and Washington connected with 30 of his 98 thrown (31%). The fight was televised on Fox in the USA and was watched by an average audience of 1.76 million viewers, peaking at 1.86 million. The bout was the most watched boxing match in the United States for 2017, until the Thurman-Garcia unification fight drew 3.74 million on March 4.
Following the fight, there was an altercation between Wilder and Dominic Breazeale, who had knocked out Izuagbe Ugonoh on the undercard. Breazeale claimed that Wilder and his entourage attacked him in front of his wife at the Westin Birmingham hotel. This came after Breazeale supposedly had a fracas with Wilder’s younger brother, Marsellos, at ringside during Wilder’s fight.
Wilder vs. Stiverne II
On February 27, 2017, the World Boxing Council ordered Wilder to fight mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, with negotiations to begin immediately. On July 18, 2017, it was reported that a deal was being worked out for Wilder to make his sixth defense of his WBC title against heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC). Wilder’s promoter Lou DiBella, had put the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on hold for October 14 and November 4, 2017. According to sources, Don King, promoter of Bermaine Stiverne, mandatory challenger for Wilder, had reported to be working out a step a side fee from Wilder and Ortiz’s advisor Al Haymon. Stiverne announced he had hired James Prince and attorney Josh Dubin as his managers, who were best known to have worked for Andre Ward, Shakur Stevenson and Bryant Jennings. Stiverne told Boxing Scene that Don King had not been given any permission to negotiate a step a side fee and he would work with his management team to ensure he challenges for the WBC title in his next fight. It was reported by VADA, who oversees the WBC Clean Boxing Programme, that Stiverne missed a drug test. The WBC treated this as failing a drug test. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman worked on a deal to finalise Wilder vs. Ortiz for November 4, 2017. According to TheRing.tv, Stiverne agreed a mid six-figure payday to allow the fight to take place. In a phone interview, Stiverne mentioned the step-a-side fee and reported he could fight former world title challenger Dominic Breazeale next. On September 12, it was reported by Showtime that the fight was a done deal, awaiting official announcement for the fight to take place on November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Showtime revealed the card would include Daniel Jacobs as chief support. On September 18, the fight was made official pending the official press conference, which would take place the next day. ESPN was advised that Stiverne would fight Breazeale on the undercard in a title eliminator. It was reported on September 29, Ortiz had failed a drugs test, which was carried out by VADA, part of the WBC clean programme. It was believed that the drugs in question were diuretics chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure but also can be used as masking agents for performance-enhancing drug use. A urine sample was taken on September 22 in Miami. Ortiz never informed VADA that he had been on medication.
On October 4, the WBC withdrew its sanction on the Wilder vs. Ortiz fight and immediately ordered Wilder to fight mandatory Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs). The very next day, Showtime announced the fight. At the press conference, Wilder claimed that he was happy to be getting Stiverne out of the way. Stiverne officially signed the contract on October 17, his managers Josh Dubin and James Prince confirmed. Stiverne weighed 254¾ pounds on the scales, 13 pounds more than he weighed in the first fight and 34 pounds more than Wilder, who came in at 220¾ pounds. It was revealed that Wilder would earn a purse of $1.4 million and Stiverne would take home $506,250 as mandatory.
On fight night, in front of 10,924, Wilder retained his WBC title with a commanding first-round knockout. Wilder knocked Stiverne down three times before referee Arthur Mercante stopped the fight at 2:59 of the round. Wilder started the fight using his jab to keep Stiverne at distance. A right hand put Stiverne down for the first knockdown. As soon as the fight resumed, Wilder landed another right hand, putting Stiverne down a second time. The final knockdown saw Stiverne against the ropes, when Wilder connected with another right, followed by a left hook to the head. At this point, with Stiverne defenseless, the fight was stopped. In the post fight interview, Wilder said, “You have to give props to Stiverne for getting in the ring. It takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of pride to step in the ring with someone like me. We do what we have to do in the ring and at least he stepped up. He was a clean fighter.” When asked about a future fight with fellow heavyweight king Anthony Joshua, he said, “I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now. I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?” With the win, Wilder had now knocked out every opponent he had fought. CompuBox Stats showed that Stiverne threw only 2 jabs and 2 power shots, not landing any. Wilder landed 15 of his 39 punches thrown (38%). The fight drew an average of 824,000 viewers and peaked at 887,000 viewers on Showtime. This was slightly less than the first fight, which took place in January 2015.
Wilder vs. Ortiz
Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz
Luis Ortiz made his ring return knocking out journeyman Daniel Martz on December 8. Wilder was sat ringside on commentary for the fight. After the fight, Ortiz called out Wilder, who then stepped into the ring and said to Ortiz, ”I guarantee you, you’ll have the fight.” On December 19, negotiations resumed between Wilder and Ortiz, with a potential fight for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 3, 2018. According to RingTV on December 30, an agreement had been reached. Terms were agreed on January 12 and the fight was officially announced on January 23. Wilder weighed his lowest since turning professional in 2006, at 214 pounds. Ortiz came in at 241¼ pounds.
Wilder overcame difficulty and knocked Ortiz out in round 10 to retain his WBC title in front of a crowd of 14,069. Both boxers started the fight cautious with Wilder throwing the jab, however Ortiz seemed to do more in the opening 4 rounds throwing combinations. Wilder took control in round five, knocking Ortiz down once. Wilder was hurt badly in round 7 by a left hand from Ortiz. Wilder was then trapped on the ropes taking head and body shots from Ortiz. Referee David Fields kept a close eye on the Wilder and looked at one time, close to stopping the fight. Wilder made it to the end of the round. Despite Ortiz not managing to drop Wilder in round 7, all three judges scored the round 10–8 for Ortiz. Wilder used rounds 8 and 9 to rest up and managed to avoid any punishment. Wilder hurt Ortiz with a right hand at the end of round 9. Wilder then unloaded on Ortiz, who at this point looked tired, in the round 10 in dropping him twice before the match was halted by David Fields. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:05 of round 10.
At the time of stoppage, all three judges had their scorecards 85–84 in favor of Wilder. After the fight, Wilder spoke about his win and praised Ortiz, “‘King Kong’ ain’t got nothing on me. A true champion always finds a way to come back, and that’s what I did tonight. Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch. When Ortiz leaves tonight, he can hold his head high. He gave the fans a hell of a fight.” Ortiz also gave his thoughts on the fight. Speaking through a translator, he said, “I feel fine. I did receive a right hand, but I’m OK. I was listening to the directions that my corner was giving me. In this sport, any punch can end a fight. It was a great fight and I performed well.” According to CompuBox Stats, Wilder landed 98 of 346 punches thrown (28%) and Ortiz landed 87 of his 363 thrown (24%). For the fight, Wilder earned a career-high $2.1 million and Ortiz received a $500,000 purse. The event was Barclays Center’s second-biggest boxing crowd after Thurman vs. García, which was attended by 16,533 in March 2017. The fight averaged 1.1 million viewers and peaked at 1.2 million on Showtime. The last time Showtime did over 1 million viewers was in 2015 when Wilder defeated Stiverne for the WBC title.
Wilder vs. Fury
Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury
From April until the end of June 2018, both camps of Joshua and Wilder were in deep talks around the super fight to finally take place. The main hurdles were split, date and venue. At one point Wilder had agreed to fight Joshua in the UK, however there were slight confusions in the contracts that were being sent back and forth. At the same time, Hearn was also working a deal out for Joshua to fight WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs). The WBA initially ordered the fight after Povetkin knocked out David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard. Negotiaions took a turn on 26 June when the WBA gave Joshua’s camp 24 hours to finalise a deal with Povetkin. With Joshua closer to fighting Povetkin in September 2018, Hearn stated the Joshua-Wilder fight would still take place in April 2019 at Wembley Stadium. Hearn later explained that the WBA would have granted an exemption, had Wilder signed a deal to fight Joshua. On 16 July, Joshua vs. Povetkin was officially announced for September 2018.
On 30 July, it was reported that there were ongoing negotiations for a fight to take place in either November or December 2018 between Fury and Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs). On 31 July, Fury stated the fight against Wilder was 99% a done deal, with only a location and date to be confirmed. Fury also had to come through in his bout against Pianeta on 18 August. Wilder was scheduled to be in Belfast to further promote the fight. Fury won the bout via a points decision. During the post-fight interviews, promoter Warren confirmed the Fury vs. Wilder fight was on. The fight would take place in either Las Vegas or New York in November 2018. The fight would be aired on PPV in the United States on Showtime and in the UK on BT Sports Box Office. Talking about how the fight came together, Fury said, “We have two men who will fight anyone. This man has been trying to make a fight with another chump. They called, I answered. I said: ‘Send me the contract.’ They sent it. I said ‘yes’.” Warren later told BBC Radio 5 live, “[It’s a] 50-50 [purse split], quick and smooth negotiations. He was the world heavyweight champion. He’s undefeated. [Wilder and his team] understand that. All of the terms are agreed.” By the end of August, contracts for the fight to take place had been signed. On 22 September, both fighters confirmed they had signed the contract and the fight would take place on 1 December 2018. According to the California State Athletic Commission, Wllder would earn a guaranteed base purse of $4 million and Fury would take home a guaranteed purse of $3 million. Despite Frank Warren’s original claim that the revenue would be split 50-50, it was revealed that Wilder could make $14 million (£10.94 million) and Fury would earn around $10.25 million (£8 million). Both boxers would see this increase to their base purses after receiving their percentages from pay-per-view revenue. The weigh in took place on November 30, on a made platform outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Fury stepped on the scale first and weighed in at 256½ pounds, his lightest since his comeback following his lay off. The weight was only 2 pounds less than he weighed in August 2018 against Francisco Pianeta, however he looked more slim and lean. Wilder was next to step on and came in at 212½ pounds, his lowest since his debut in 2008 when he weighed 207¼ pounds. For his last bout, Wilder weighed 214 pounds, however it was cited that Wilder suffered from an illness during his training camp.
Wilder oldest daughter Naieya Wilder who was born in 2005 with spinal bifida with ex-girlfriend Helen Duncan. Wilder also has two other daughters and one son with Jessica Scales-Wilder, whom he married in 2009 and later divorced. Wilder is currently engaged to and has a child with Telli Swift and has been featured on the reality television show, WAGS Atlanta. He graduated from Tuscaloosa Central High School in 2004 and dreamed of playing football (wide receiver) or basketball (forward) for his hometown Alabama Crimson Tide, but the birth of his daughter, who has spina bifida, and grade issues forced him to attend nearby Shelton State Community College and to focus on a boxing career.
Deontay’s younger brother Marsellos Wilder is also a professional boxer, and currently fights in the cruiserweight division.
Anthony Joshua Vs. Deontay Wilder Has To Happen Sometime.
Unbeaten three-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of England participated in an extended session with U.S. boxing reporters Saturday, saving his biggest point on the most pressing topic for last.
When will he fight Deontay Wilder, the unbeaten American who wears the glamour World Boxing Council belt of the division?
“The long and short of it is when you’re in the same era, it has to happen. And it’s impossible for it not to happen. And when it does happen, it’ll be massive,” Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) said. “Let’s try and get the deal done.”
Because it’s boxing, with many other agendas (including television allegiances) in play, it’s not that simple.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 knockouts) is coming off his Dec. 1 draw at Staples Center against Joshua’s unbeaten countryman and former three-belt champion, Tyson Fury, and says the target for his next fight is a Fury rematch.
Joshua is waiting to watch Saturday’s heavyweight bout between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora at London’s O2 Arena, and a victory by Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) is expected to propel him to a rematch with Joshua.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has a hold on 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in London for April 13.
With the demand for a Wilder showdown peaking, Joshua said he’s content if 2019 takes him to Whyte in April, and then an early fall U.S. debut date, likely against Brooklyn’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs).
“All fights,” excite me. “It’s a good opportunity for Dillian, my countryman and rival … it’s what the fans are interested in … I’d rather fight a guy in the top 10, not a bum,” Joshua said. Miller “is an interesting fight,” and “could be” in the U.S. “That’s why we’re here, planting the seed.”
With Miller in the crowd, Joshua came to Madison Square Garden on Saturday to watch Canelo Alvarez knock out Rocky Fielding. And speaking on the new streaming service DAZN, he had reverence toward the historic New York arena and the idea of fighting there soon.
He told media outlets, including The Times, earlier Saturday that “I’m here. I’m someone who gets my feet wet before I dive in. I’m getting to know the fans, the culture, the people. It’s good for me to come in and let them get to know me, to speak to them, to get to know you guys … so in the fight, it’s not new. There is a plan to fight here. I have a strategy I want to follow.”
A 2012 Olympic gold medalist whose thrilling victory last year over Wladimir Klitschko sent the Ukrainian fighter to retirement, Joshua, 29, underscored career planning as a crucial difference between him and Wilder.
“It was only a year ago when Wilder was known for fighting bums … he’s been a pro 10 years and he’s finally found the [courage] to fight someone. Now he has confidence,” Joshua said. “With me, I am who I am and I’ve stated that from the beginning of my career. I’m at the top of the pecking order.
“That’s why you don’t see me getting upset. Calculated steps are important. I know what the vision is. When you don’t know and you get the pressure from your manager, the fans and TV, that was Wilder’s issue after 37 fights … there was no real long-term strategy. How long does the man have left in the game? I don’t know. It will be interesting to see what his plan will be for the next five years.
“Ultimately you have to break it down by asking who’s leading the pack? That’s important.”
Wilder, 33, rejected a $15-million guarantee for Joshua to earn less than $10 million for Fury, and Joshua rebuffed a $50-million guarantee in the first round of talks to make a fight earlier this year.
Hearn now says talks have restarted with Wilder manager Shelly Finkel to explore if an April fight is possible. He characterized the discussion as “better than last time,” and said the divide between Joshua being linked to DAZN and Wilder to Showtime can be bridged simply by who will spend more to show the fight.
“We all talked too much last time,” Hearn said. “We decided this time we’re not going to do that. Wilder’s always said one face is needed as heavyweight champion. “You can’t say that and not take the fight. If that matters to them, these talks will get serious.”
Joshua sought to suppress the idea that his coach, Rob McCracken, objects to fighting the unconventional, lethal-punching Wilder.
“McCracken doesn’t fight for me. He trains me,” Joshua said. “For me, Wilder’s style and boxing ability is not an issue. It’s not about what someone says on my behalf. I say it’s no problem. I’ll fight Wilder and I’ll probably knock him out as well. The main thing is I’ll fight Wilder.”
The question is when, and Joshua returned to his commitment to career strategy.
“It’s not complicated stuff and it’s not about ducking or dodging … it’s about proving to myself I’m the best. I’m competing with myself to become undisputed,” Joshua said. “Of course I’m begging for the fight like he says I am, but the begging is about being undisputed. It’s not about Wilder. It’s for history, to find out who the best in the world is … who will hold the keys to the universe.”
On The Road Again
The least finicky world champion has to be super-welterweight Maurice Hooker of Texas, who has ventured to the English den of Terry Flanagan and the Oklahoma City home of Alex Saucedo to win and defend his World Boxing Organization belt.
Now Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KOs) is being pointed to the Long Island digs of former welterweight champion Chris Algieri to make a Feb. 23 title defense.
“It doesn’t matter where I fight. I’ll fight anywhere. I just love boxing,” Dallas’ Hooker said in a conversation before Joshua’s talk on Saturday.
“The [opposing] crowd motivates me. When they’re booing, they give me more fire in my tank to shut them up. Once I shut them up, it’s over — I know I’m winning the fight.”
As the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament with favored Regis Prograis of New Orleans plays out, Hooker is being aimed at finally getting home for a June meeting with former lightweight champion Jorge Linares.
“I like that fight. I won’t have to look for him. I’ll have to outbox him and land some big shots,” Hooker said of Linares. “I want to win all the belts like Terence Crawford and then move up.””
That will require defeating World Boxing Council champion Jose Ramirez and possibly Prograis.
Hearn, who also promotes Hooker, says he’s willing to work with Ramirez promoter Top Rank and ESPN, as he did for the Saucedo bout, to get a Ramirez meeting accomplished.
“I’m not going to hold guys back from a life-changing contract. He went on ESPN when we lost the purse bid [for Saucedo], but we got a big rating, he knocked the guy out in his backyard and it rose his stock considerably. It couldn’t have worked out better,” Hearn said. Hooker’s taking “three fights in backyards before his homecoming and when he realizes how good he is, you may see a shine at another level.”
Hooker is feeling good enough to predict he could knock out lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko if he ever moved up in weight again.
“My boxing IQ’s picking up. I can see punches coming. I can tell when I hurt someone. It’s like playing chess, noticing everything,” Hooker said. “I’ve had a lot of training camps with [Miguel] Cotto, Crawford, [Shawn] Porter … it was like going to boxing school.”
Nov. 29, 2018
The ‘Bronze Bomber’ is undefeated in 40 career fights, but faces his toughest challenge to date against Tyson Fury.
Deontay Wilder is undefeated in 40 career fights and holds the WBC heavyweight belt. But he remains a virtual unknown compared with past American heavyweight champions such as Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
Wilder says he is finally ready to introduce himself to the world—beginning with Saturday’s bout against Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“This is my coming-out party,” the 33-year-old Wilder said. “I’ve worked my ass off to get to this very point in my life and now I’m here.”
Although the 6-foot-7 Wilder has won 39 of his 40 bouts by knockout, the main critique against him is that he has yet to face a quality opponent.
“You look at Mike Tyson. He fought a lot of bums too. When he did step up and fight the best of the division, what happened? He lost,” Wilder said in an interview. “Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield beat him twice, Buster Douglas beat him. He beat Michael Spinks but Michael Spinks was scared as s—. And Larry Holmes was too old.”
For Wilder, beating an opponent with Fury’s résumé is the springboard he needs to reach another level.
“There is an attraction for the casual sports fan because there is something unique about heavyweight title fights. You go through history and they [become] the biggest personalities in all of sports,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports.
Fury, 30, won the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight belts in 2015 after upsetting long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko. But Fury vacated the titles and left the sport for 2½ years due to drug addiction and depression. Fury has had two fights since his comeback, beating Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. For Fury, a win over Wilder would propel him back up to the top of the division.
“I’m going to make [Wilder] feel what it’s like to fight a real champion,” Fury said.
Wilder was a star athlete in Tuscaloosa, Ala., but didn’t begin boxing until age 19. He quickly took to the sport and won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which led to his “Bronze Bomber” nickname. He has power with both hands and flusters opponents with a style that many boxing experts view as unorthodox.
“You’re looking at a guy that played football, basketball, baseball,” Wilder said of himself. “Ran track. And if I had time, soccer, I would have played that. I’m an athlete. As an athlete bringing it to the boxing game, my defense is my athleticism.”
Wilder said he thinks he could have played football for Nick Saban at Alabama.
If he beats Fury, Wilder said he wants to unify the heavyweight division again, which means taking on current IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs).
“Of course, I want Joshua. That’s been the goal. If he is the so-called man, why wouldn’t I want him?
But first Wilder needs to beat Fury.
“What I care about is showing people what I’m all about it,” Wilder said. “America has a mighty man in me. America has the baddest man on the planet.”
Anthony Joshua Reclaims World Heavyweight Title
Andy Ruiz Jr.’s reign is short-lived as he loses by unanimous decision in the Arabian desert.
DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia—The six strange months that saw a roly-poly Mexican-American fighter named Andy Ruiz Jr. rule boxing as heavyweight champion of the world came to an end early on Sunday morning.
In one of the most improbable settings the sport has ever known, a purpose-built, 15,000-seat stadium on the outskirts of Riyadh, Ruiz lost by unanimous decision to Britain’s Anthony Joshua, now a two-time world champion.
At the bell of the 12th round, Joshua strutted around the ring, already certain he had entered an elite club of boxers to lose the heavyweight title and then immediately win it back, alongside Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali. Once it was confirmed, he faced the crowd and gave thanks to all the usual boxing people—the promoter, his team, his opponent—and then some unusual boxing people, the kingdom’s royal family.
After all, it was Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s radical vision for the future of his oil-rich country that means it is now, among other things, a host of heavyweight prize fights.
For Ruiz, however, the signs had always been there that he wouldn’t repeat one of the most stunning upsets in recent memory. For one, Ruiz showed up at his Wednesday press conference wearing a New York Knicks jersey, which isn’t something people do when they care about winning.
And two days later, Ruiz was 15 pounds heavier than he was for the initial bout in June, weighing in at 283 pounds—though some of that belonged to the black-and-gold sombrero he wore on the scale.
“I don’t want to say that the three months of partying, celebrating affected me,” he said after the fight. “But to tell you the truth, it kind of did.”
The sudden swelling prompted comparisons between Ruiz and Buster Douglas, who shocked Mike Tyson for the heavyweight title in 1990. Douglas then gained 15 pounds in eight months before attempting to defend it against Evander Holyfield —and going down in three rounds.
Joshua, meanwhile, used the six intervening months to slim down by 10 pounds to 237. He was determined not to make any of the early mistakes of the first fight, when he was caught off-guard by Ruiz’s power and knocked down four times.
On Saturday, he leaned on his superior reach and mobility, patiently dancing around Ruiz. By the end of the first round, Joshua had already opened up a cut by Ruiz’s left eye. And for the rest of the fight, he concentrated on maintaining the discipline to stay out of range of Ruiz’s piledrivers.
“It’s like an exam,” said the 30-year-old Joshua, now 23-1. “I studied harder and got the W.”
As the bout wore on, Joshua flew ahead on the judges’ scorecards. Then again, this was never a fight that Ruiz, who doesn’t need to connect often to make an impact, would win in a decision. For the defending champion, it was knockout or bust. Joshua never gave him that chance.
But what happened on the canvas was only part of the story. Everything about this fight seemed new to the sport.
The fight only landed in Saudi Arabia as part of Prince Mohammed’s wide-ranging plan to modernize the ultraconservative country and improve its image abroad, despite its poor human rights record. Three years ago, a show like Saturday night’s would have been unthinkable here. Women attended in large numbers. Western pop music blared during every stoppage. And surveying all of it while standing on a private terrace was the crown prince himself.
Promising huge fight fees and lavish facilities, like a temporary arena erected in less than 10 weeks, Saudi Arabia was able to draw promoters away from sites such as New York, Las Vegas, and an 80,000-seat stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Allegations of aiding in Saudi image-laundering didn’t slow down anyone putting together the fight.
“It’s a sport where I have to present the best opportunities to my clients—and it really doesn’t matter what my view and opinion is,” Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, the fight’s promoter, said in the buildup. “Ultimately, the fighters and their advisers will choose the best deal that’s available on the table.”
But for all the careful planning and boundless expense that went into putting on this megafight, organizers overlooked one crucial detail: a roof. Because just when a $60 million heavyweight bout in Saudi Arabia seemed like it couldn’t get any more surprising, it started raining in the desert.
The downpour on the open-air arena lasted through most of the undercard fights with only the ring protected by a canopy. Only in the moments before Joshua and Ruiz entered the ring did the desert become the desert again.
And pretty soon, Ruiz was back to being Ruiz, the athlete who didn’t look like an athlete and didn’t own boxing’s greatest prizes.
“If we do the third fight,” Ruiz said, throwing in an expletive, “you’d better believe I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.”
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