Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs) used his right hand to dismantle WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs) Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight went the distance, ending with a unanimous decision victory for Deontay Wilder after 12 rounds. Wilder is now the first American heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs held the title in 2006.
Wilder steadily connected with Stiverne throughout the match, leaving Stiverne stumbling around the ring early and often. Stiverne was wobbling after absorbing Wilder’s right hooks as early as the second round. Then, Wilder used his left jabs to set up his right hand for crushing blows to Stiverne’s head, mainly in the 5th, 7th and 8th rounds.
At the end of the night, Stiverne was left noticeably thrashed. Stiverne’s silver lining is that he walked away from the fight without being knocked out because that was about the only thing that didn’t happen. Many fighters have been KO’d with less of a beating than the one he got.
The judges did give Stiverne a few rounds of the 12, but this was likely due to Wilder coasting his way through later rounds once Stiverne had been thoroughly punished. The judges cards read 118-109, 119-108, 120-107. Wilder’s key to success was his height as he was able to utilize his jab to keep the shorter 6’2” Stiverne from getting close enough to do anything significant. Wilder’s right hands were landing with such force that they were knocking Stiverne backwards. Moving forward, Wilder believes he deserves Wladmir Klitzchko and Tyson Fury, both before the end of this year. With his perfect record and dominant wins like this one over Stiverne, he should have most everyone backing him in those beliefs. Although, it should be noted that critics will say that he should have KO’d Stiverne early in the fight rather than simply winning by decision–even though it was unanimous.