Loud and clear: Deontay Wilder destroys Bermane Stiverne in rematch
Having gone through a tumultuous career stretch littered with canceled fights and injuries, Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder took his recent frustrations out on Bermane Stiverne, brutally knocking him out in the first round Saturday night to defend his WBC heavyweight title a sixth time.
“So much frustration. It just seems like my career has been crazy,” said Wilder to Jim Gray in the post-fight interview. “So many guys ducking, so many guys using PEDs. I just want to prove that I am the best.”
The main event of a Showtime card held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the rematch wasn’t one demanded by fans but was a WBC mandatory opponent fill-in after Luis Ortiz failed his VADA drug test. Nonetheless, Wilder came into the fight looking to knock out the only man to take him the distance and, in the process of doing so, he helped his cause by not letting Stiverne last the 13th round.
Wilder, 39-0 (38), furiously pumped his jab to start, while Stiverne just took it, trying to catch the shot with his guard. On the heels of a two-year layoff, Stiverne, 39, was timid, to say the least, only throwing a handful of shots until Wilder hurt him for the first time with a right hand. The first knockdown of the fight was a rapid right hand off the jab that sent Stiverne flat on his backside.
Stiverne, 25-3-1 (21), got up and complained of a phantom shot to the back of his head but, once time resumed, Wilder stood in front of Stiverne like a statue, looking down on a man, who didn’t want any part of him. As Wilder stood there with his hands down, Stiverne did nothing. Eventually, Wilder let his hands go emphatically and went right back to landing few more right hands, sending Stiverne bumbling backward and onto his backside again before he knew it. After he rose again with less than 10 seconds left in the round, Wilder wasted none of that time going in for the kill.
Landing a right hand and following it up with a piercing left that had Stiverne out on his feet and his body up against the ropes, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. rushed in to stop the fight, as Wilder was in the heat of the moment. Once Mercante wrestled him away, Stiverne’s body neatly folded at the knee and his sleeping head was resting on the bottom rope.
“I want peace, man. We handle everything in the ring,” proclaimed Wilder about his relationship with Stiverne, one that got heated and testy, during fight week. On the performance, he boldly stated, “I’m too athletic. I’m mobile. I’m hostile. I’ve got the heart of lion. I am the king.”
With unified IBF/WBA heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua having fought on the network, a week ago, the United Kingdom’s heavyweight champion was rightfully brought up by Gray.
“I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now,” said Wilder before going into a British accent and saying, “Listen mate; I declare war up on you. Do you accept my challenge?”
As for a fight with fringe contender Dillian Whyte – a bout that has been dangled by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn – Wilder made his intentions loud and clear.
“A king doesn’t chase a peasant. A king chases kings,” he said. “I want Joshua. No more ducking. No more dodging. No more excuses. Let’s make the fight happen. Let’s see who’s the best.”
Gray, who helped the process of making Wilder’s message transparent in his line of questioning, ended the interview wanting to know if Wilder is willing to travel for that super-fight.
“My belt says the heavyweight champion of the world,” answered Wilder. “I will go anywhere in the world, Jim. I was about to go to Russia – I’ll go to England as well too. So make the date – don’t wait!”
In the co-feature, former IBF welterweight titlist “Showtime” Shawn Porter, 28-2-1 (17), earned a unanimous decision over Adrian Granados, 18-6-2 (12), after 12 grueling rounds. All three judges at ringside scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Porter, in a welterweight elimination bout sanctioned by the WBC.
“I came in here to take his heart and he wouldn’t let me take it,” admitted Porter post-fight. The Cleveland, Ohio native cemented his position to become the mandatory challenger for the WBC welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman (who also holds the WBA title) but, with an icepack already on his left hand, during the interview, the 30-year-old may have to wait for that rematch. “We think we broke it but I don’t know,” he said. “I hurt it in the sixth and had to change the game plan.”
Opening the Showtime telecast, Sergey Lipinets, 13-0 (10), won the vacant IBF junior welterweight title via unanimous decision (118-110, 117-111 twice) over Akihiro Kondo, 29-7-1 (16).
With a division now up for the taking, after now-former undisputed champion Terence Crawford’s move up to welterweight, all four 140-pound titles were vacated and Lipinets, 28, becomes the only titleholder in the class as it now stands.