Deontay Wilder; ‘The Bronze Bomber’ from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, finally gets his shot at world title glory as he challenges WBC Champion Bermane Stiverne on January 17th at the infamous MGM Grand, Las Vegas.
Wilder believes that he has made a date with destiny on 17th January. The nation is yearning for a next heavyweight champion of the world and Deontay Wilder could become America’s first world heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs who won the WBO strap in 2006. Briggs has since become something of a laughing stock though, chasing Vladimir Klitschko across land, sea and air in a desperate campaign to get another title shot. There is a very strong case to suggest that the USA hasn’t had bona fide world champions since the days of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. American heavyweights over the past decade have not matched up to the long, long tradition of great American heavyweights; a phenomenal list that stretches back in over a century of history.
However despite being in a position to achieve such a feat, Wilder has come in for some heavy criticism in the boxing fraternity on both sides of the Atlantic for padding his record out against journeyman club fighters with little to offer in return. Whilst he undoubtedly possesses potential, the American and world boxing public alike are still unsure of his shiny paper credentials and are yet to be totally convinced.
Wilder still has a certain rawness about his style for someone who has registered 32 pro fights on his record but it has to be noted that 18 of those have been first round knockout wins meaning that he’s only actually got 58 rounds of boxing under his belt. In fact, nobody has taken him past the fourth round although he will be quick to point out that no fighter gets paid for overtime and he can only beat who is put in front of him. Have his promotional team been protected him for a reason though?
The manner with which Deontay has disposed of his opponents does show that he does have something about him and without doubt hits very hard. At 6 foot 6 inches tall he has the natural frame of the 21st century heavyweight and it provides him with plenty of leverage for power shots.
The WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion does also have some amateur pedigree that suggests he can also box a bit as well as bang. He won the national golden gloves and US championship back in 2007 in the 91kg weight class after only lacing up a pair of gloves a couple of years earlier. Despite being a late starter to the sport he upset the favourites to win those esteemed tournaments. In 2008 he then went on to represent the USA at the Beijing Olympic Games and won a heavyweight bronze medal.
WBC champ Bermane Stiverne has 21 knockouts from his 24 wins with 14 first round knockouts so he can also punch very hard too. He demonstrated his power with a savage KO of American Chris Arreola in May of last year in his last outing. The Haiti born Canadian national won the vacant WBC world title after Vitali Klitschko’s retirement by emphatically stopping Arreola in a rematch that firmly put his rival in his place after having only beaten him via a 12 round unanimous decision a year earlier in 2012.
36-year old Bermane Stiverne has a blemish on his record that may indicate a weakness though. He has lost just once but he was knocked out in the fourth of a scheduled eight rounds against an unknown heavyweight hailing from Michigan called Demetrice King, back in 2007. He was a fighter with more losses than wins on his record.
He bounced back and rebuilt well though and without doubt represents a definite step up in class for the challenger. He will be keen to test his opponents chin but will have to overcome height and reach advantages in order to land. Although not of American descent he resides in the USA and has been preparing at the Mayweather Gym so should be adequately prepared for the biggest fight of his career against his mandatory.
It seems that with so much power on show that it would be unlikely that this fight will go the full distance. Wilder possesses the greater potential and goes into the fight as a slight favourite against the champion. But at this moment, it is still potential that makes him the favourite and that can be a very dangerous thing against a champion with a title to defend.
STIVERNE: W24 (24KO) L1 (KO1) KO% 80.77
WILDER: W32 (KO32) L0 KO%100