If there was one fighter with a hundred burning questions looming over his head, it was Deontay Wilder. An unblemished record saturated with early knockouts was to thank. Prior to his fight with newly crowned WBC champion Bermane Stiverne, critics wondered just how good the Alabama native was. And who could really blame them?
But following the final bell on January 17th, every one of those questions were swiftly answered. Wilder not only dethroned a highly capable and skilled foe by Unanimous Decision, but did so in emphatic fashion at the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas. The scorecards came in at 118-109, 119-108, 120-107. BoxingBase.com scored the contest at 118-109.
Wilder vs Stiverne Introduces Serious Klitschko Threat
Can Wilder box? Yep. Can he take a solid punch? Yep. Does he have a 12 round tank. Yep. In fact – without getting too comfortable on the Wilder train – the guy showcased just about every quality a great Heavyweight could exhibit. And the solid, granite-chinned Stiverne was the man to bring the best out in him.
Despite the wide margins on the cards, the Haitian-born Stiverne put in a good performance. He ate too many shots, granted, but given the obstacle in front of him, he deserves respect. Stiverne kept coming forward, landed some tasty counter shots, and most importantly never quit. The man remained a rock, survived some shaky moments – including a precarious encounter with a wind-milling Wilder in the 2nd round – and showed great heart.
Wilder bagged most of the rounds, due both to his movement and power. Not only was he effective with the jab and one-two combinations, he started to lead with left hooks as he grew in confidence down the stretch. This could be the sign of a special fighter – the only other current Heavyweight of note to lead with this shot is Wladimir Klitschko. (Wilder vs Stiverne 7th Round Fight Highlights)
Wilder vs Stiverne: Aftermath
What’s next for both fighters? For Wilder, whatever the heck he fancies. Now in possession of a major title belt and having shutout a credible name, he can call out whoever he wants. Wilder is no doubt the second best fighter north of 200 pounds right now – but what ranked fighter would be willing to fight him following a highly impressive performance like this?
It’s unlikely Wilder’s team will want to push their potential cash cow into a Klitschko fight just yet. Heavyweight veteran’s will no doubt rise to the challenge for the pay day, but what about an unbeaten fighter like Britain’s Tyson Fury? He’s always crowing about how he’d obliterate Wilder – but would he really risk everything against the champion?
As for Stiverne, all is not lost it would seem. Given his impressive performance in Arreola vs Stiverne II, we already know he can deal with good, solid Heavyweights – and in emphatic fashion. So he shouldn’t have too many problems rebuilding against any contenders not named Klitschko. The only question is: how much did Wilder take out of Stiverne in this fight?
Following the victory, Wilder remains unbeaten, improving to 33 wins, 32 knockouts. He also becomes the first American to hold a Heavyweight title since 2007, and of course the only current fighter with a knockout ratio just shy of 100 percent. Stiverne, who previously became the first Haitian to capture a Heavyweight strap, now stands at 24 wins, 21 knockouts, 2 losses, 1 draw.
What did you think of Wilder vs Stiverne? Given the Heavyweight climate, is he to remain on the top spot for some time? What of his chances against Klitschko in a Heavyweight super fight? And does Fury pose a serious enough threat to Wilder should they meet?
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