A 28-year-old resident of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Wilder downed strawberry shortcake while standing on the scales during Friday’s weigh-in, and ate lemon-flavored ice cream not long after that.
On Saturday night, at Boardwalk Hall, the 6-foot-7, 224-pounder feasted on Firtha, dropping him twice in the first round with a left and again with a right before finishing him with a right hand in the fourth round for the knockout.
Firtha was flat on his back and tried to rise by rolling to his left before referee Lindsay Page waved it off.
“I wanted to box and to have fun. I wanted to throw my combinations and my tremendous jab as well as my fast, stiff left hook. This fight is exactly what I told them that it would be,” said Wilder, a former sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko.
“I’ve seen him fighting in the Klitschko camps. He’s not that skilled, but he’s tough. I’m right there at the door. I’ve just gotta have patience. I’m willing to win and to win in good fashion. Every time you come to see me, you’ll get a knockout.”
Wilder-Firtha took place on the undercard of a main event featuring IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins against German challenger Karo Murat supported by WBO middleweight titleholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin opposite Gabriel Rosado.
A winner of a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics, Wilder was coming off back-to-back first-round KOs of ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich in August and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison in April.
Firtha (21-10-1, 8 KOs), who is 34, had last been in the ring for a six-round unanimous decision victory over Robert Hawkins in July that ended a two-fight losing streak.
Firtha had been stopped four times previously, including by Tye Fields in the sixth round in 2009, and by Tyson Fury in the fifth round in 2011. Firtha has also gone the distance in 10-round losses to Alexander Povetkin and Johnathon Banks in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
The evening’s first bout was won by super middleweight Dominic Wade (13-0, 10 KOs) in the first round over Roberto Ventura (12-8, 12 KOs), as was the second, by featherweight Braulio Santos (11-1, 10 KOs), who finished David Clark (6-3, 4 KOs) with a left hook.
Next up was junior welterweight Zachary Ochoa (5-0, 3 KOs), who unanimously decisioned rugged Michael J. Doyle (2-6, 1 KO). In his previous fight in April, Ochoa, of Brooklyn, hammered out a four-round unanimous decision over Calvin Smith, of Prichard, Ala., going the distance for the first time. Ochoa had come off last November’s first-round knockout of Michael Salcido.
Junior welterweight Wellington Romero won his professional debut by unanimous decision over Victor Galindo (1-3) in the evening’s fourth fight.
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]