Deontay Wilder on Jan. 17 became the first American heavyweight world champion since June 2007 when he won a one-sided decision over Bermane Stiverne at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Check out this video to see what Stiverne was up against:
Vitali Klitschko has stepped down as WBC heavyweight champion so he can concentrate on running for president of his native Ukraine. Klitschko, 42, has not defended his title in some 15 months. Accordingly, the WBC has named him champion emeritus, meaning if and when he decides to continue his career, he can challenge the champion at that time.
This could mean that Bermane Stiverne and Riverside’s Chris Arreola, the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked contenders, will fight for the vacant title. But if Stiverne does not settle his litigation with his promoter – Don King – and is unable to fight, Arreola and No. 3 Deontay Wilder could fight for the title.
American heavyweight Deontay Wilder is now 30-0 with 30 knockouts after knocking out Nicolai Firtha in the fourth round of their fight Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (on Showtime).
Wilder, who is 6-foot-7, connected with a mean right hand to the head of Firtha, who dropped to the canvas. When referee Lindsey Page saw Firtha could not push himself off the canvas, he waved off the bout without reaching the count of 10.
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is 28. Firtha, of Akron, Ohio, is 34. He is 21-11-1.
The bout was underneath the light heavyweight title fight between Bernard Hopkins and Karo Murat.
Deontay Wilder entered his heavyweight fight against former world champion Sergei Liakhovich owner of a record of 28-0 with 28 knockouts. After a scary first-round knockout of Liakhovich on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, make that 29-0 with 29 knockouts.
The fight was called at 1:43 of the round after Wilder landed a vicious right cross to the chin of Liakhovich, who went down hard and began to shake. Liakhovich (25-6) eventually went to his dressing room under his own power.
The fight was televised by Showtime.
Mark Breland knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful in boxing. Not only is he a former professional welterweight world champion, he won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Breland is the trainer for heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder, who Friday night will try to keep his string of 28 consecutive knockouts alive when he takes on former champion Sergei Liakhovich at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio (on Showtime). Breland has trained Wilder his entire five-year career, and he likes what he’s seeing.
“Deontay is great to work with, he does what I tell him to and he’s willing to try anything I say, which is all I can ask,” Breland said. “He’s sparring 10 rounds and we’re coming off a great camp. He’s really improved a lot since we started. Honestly, we did not anticipate the knockouts; in fact, we are trying to get him to box and move more, which he’s beginning to do. He’s got good power in his right hand and a great 1-2 punch. So we’re trying to develop his jab. But his power is just overwhelming right now.”
Breland praised Wilder’s overall effort.
“Two great things about Deontay are his willingness to learn and his work ethic,” Breland said. “He knows he’s still learning and has the right attitude. He’s hungry and works hard in the gym. His shoulders are too tight when he boxes; once he relaxes a little and is able to loosen his shoulders, he will be even more dangerous. It’s all about relaxing, but that comes with experience.”
Wilder (28-0, 28 KOs), who is 6-foot-7, said giving 100 percent of himself is the only way to fly.
“I honestly don’t have any time off,” said Wilder, 27, of Tuscaloosa, Ala.. “I’m always up in the gym. When people call somebody a ‘gym rat,’ I am definitely that. This is my job and I take it seriously whether I’m outside the ring or inside. The only way to get better is to train and practice hard. The most time I’m off after a fight is maybe a week. After that, I’m training and waiting on the next fight. When I go to camp, I don’t go to camp to get in shape. I go to camp to put shape on top of shape. I’m never out of shape.”
Wilder is ranked No. 6 in the world by two of the four major governing bodies.
Liakhovich, 29, is 25-5 with 16 knockouts. He was world champion briefly in 2006, losing his title to Shannon Briggs in his first defense. Liakhovich has been stopped inside the distance in his past two fights.
Let’s face it, there hasn’t been much to cheer about in recent times when it comes to American heavyweights. Deontay Wilder gives the U.S. hope.
Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is 27. He is 6-foot-7 and is 28-0 with 28 knockouts. That is not a misprint. He has knocked out everyone he has fought, including 16 in the first round. Wilder stopped Audley Harrison in the first round in his most recent start in April. Not that Harrison is all that, but when a guy has knocked out 28 consecutive opponents, he’s worth a long look.
Wilder on Friday will take on former champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs) of Belarus in the main event at Fantasy Springs Casino (on Showtime).
Wilder is nicknamed “The Bronze Bomber.” He is ranked in the top 10 by two of the four major governing bodies.