With knockout artist Deontay Wilder bringing the WBC heavyweight division back to life one fight at a time, the opportunity to take his career to the next level arrives tomorrow night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. The fight, airing live on Showtime at 10pm ET and 7pm PT will feature a championship title match versus current WBC heavyweight champ Bermane Stiverne. At 29 years old, Wilder aka “The Bronze Bomber”, stands 6 feet 6 and one half inches tall weighing in at 215 pounds. He has a formidable reach, at just over 83 inches and holds a perfect record of 32-0 with all 32 of his fights ending by knockout.
In an unusual twist to the familiar rags-to-riches underdog meets top dog story, Wilder will be billing $1M to take on current WBC Heavyweight champ Bermane “B Ware” Stiverne who’s getting little more than $910K for this fight. Wilder’s record combined with Stiverne’s increasing age (currently 36 years old) makes the champ the “underdog” in his first title defense since winning the belt from Chris Arreola on May10th of 2014. Despite his age, Stiverne’s an imposing figure, standing at 6 foot 2 inches and weighing in at 240 pounds. He comes to the fight with a counterintuitive 80 inch reach, giving Wilder the advantage from that perspective alone. His stats combined with the fact that Arreola only received the title when it was vacated by Vitali Klitschko who surrendered it to the WBC after retiring to pursue a career in politics.
Stiverne is known for being an adaptable power puncher, working off an educated jab, single punches and short combinations but he’s going to have a bigger challenge defending his title against an experienced technical fighter like Deontay Wilder. Known as a “one-punch knockout” specialist, “The Bronze Bomber” is an orthodox fighter that approaches his opponents indirectly, from the outside, where he serves his “one-two” power punch combo, to their ultimate demise.
The video above shows examples of the devastation laid out by Wilder against his opponents. Though he’s anything but perfect, Wilder lacks a truly comprehensive defense, opting instead to dodge punches or use his swift feet to jump in and out of range to avoid incoming shots. Even so, the sum total of his skills could put Stiverne’s defensive game on bad footing as he consistently lags when slipping or moving. This tendency to stand his ground leaves the champ in a limited and vulnerable position when against the ropes.
Wilder’s fights average 1.8 rounds with only 4 of them ever having made it to the 4th round. Though he’s caught a lot of heat for the apparent lack real competition from his past matches, he hopes to quiet the “nay sayers” on Saturday night stating, “Ive heard nothing but excuses for my 32 wins by KO and when I get 33, I don’t want to hear anything about it.” In contrast, should Stiverne successfully defend his title he’ll gain substantial credibility and personal satisfaction to match his genuine enthusiasm, “Defending my title in Vegas at MGM is my dream,” and, “Nobody will beat me.”
For the WBC and boxing fans around the world, this heavyweight bout will be a defining moment, either enhancing Wilder’s career or solidifying Stiverne as the first true WBC heavyweight champion since Vitali Klitschko. Be sure to check back on SciFighting.com for the latest updates and remember to tune in to Showtime tomorrow night, Saturday January 17th at 10pm ET / 7pm PT to watch the live action!