Deontay Wilder guarantees Bermane Stiverne won’t go four rounds
In just over a month, Deontay Wilder expects to be standing over Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, having dethroned the Haitian-born fighter as WBC titleholder by knockout within the first four rounds.
In victory, the 6-foot-7 Wilder would become America’s first heavyweight titleholder since 2007, when Shannon Briggs lost a unanimous decision to Sultan Ibragimov, giving up the WBO strap he had won from Sergei Liakhovich seven months earlier.
“People are gonna be excited by what I do in this fight and they’re going to come and they’re gonna get what they’re looking for and that’s a new American heavyweight champion,” said Wilder, 29, who will face Stiverne on Jan. 17 on Showtime.
“The heavyweight division is definitely back after I win this. People are going to be dealing with someone who brings excitement and charisma and somebody that can make them laugh. I’m going to give them the ‘oohs’ and the ‘ahhs’ that they’ve been looking for and that’s what Deontay Wilder is going to bring back to boxing and the heavyweight division.”
In October, a definitive agreement was reached for the bout between Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 knockouts) and Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), with the date, venue and network being announced over last weekend.
A 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American man to medal in Olympic boxing, Wilder is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Jason Gavern, whom he dropped in the third and final rounds in August.
Prior to Gavern, Wilder became Stiverne’s mandatory challenger with a 96-second knockout of Malik Scott in a WBC eliminator bout in March.
“I’m a natural. That’s why a lot of the heavyweights are jealous of me now because of the things that I can do. I don’t have to plan it out. I can just be me,” said Wilder, a native and resident of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“The other fighters hate me for that but the fans love that and that’s why I’m talked about. So this is for the fans and for the naysayers and there’s a lot of them.”
Stiverne, 36, is coming off a sixth-round technical knockout over Chris Arreola in May that earned the belt which had been vacant since Vitali Klitschko retired to pursue a political career in Ukraine. The victory also made Stiverne the first heavyweight titleholder of Haitian descent.
Stiverne-Arreola was a rematch of a bout in April 2013, a unanimous decision victory for Stiverne. Stiverne is 12-0-1 with nine stoppages since being knocked out in the fourth round by Demetrice King in July 2007.
Wilder has knocked out every opponent in four rounds or less with only four opponents having gone that far. Stiverne won’t be any different, according to Wilder.
“It’s gonna be a knockout, man. This is going to be a knockout. I predict a second round knockout but I guarantee that it’s not going past four. I guarantee you that. There’s a lot of bad blood between us. The thing about it is that I’m the most dangerous when I have something personal against you. Now I really want to hurt you. I feel like nothing that you bring to the table is gonna affect me,” said Wilder.
“No matter how hard you hit, no matter how confident you are and no matter how much you try to bully me or out-tough me, it’s not gonna work. It’s just not gonna work. So it’s definitely going to be a knockout. When I do what I say that I’m going to do, I know that I’m not going to get all of my full credit for doing it. But God is still good and as long as they keep on talking about me, man, then I’m in. That’s how I feel.”
HBO TO PROFILE JOHNNY TAPIA ON TUESDAY
Five-belt, three-division titlist Johnny Tapia, whose career was plagued by cocaine abuse, depression, suicide attempts and arrests before his death at the age of 45, will be the subject of an hour-long HBO documentary to air on Tuesday staring at 11 p.m. ET/PT, the network has announced.
Tapia compiled a mark of 59-5-2 with 30 knockouts, earned major world titles in the junior bantamweight, bantamweight and featherweight divisions and won his last four fights – two by knockout – culminating with an eight-round decision over Mauricio Pastrana in June of 2011.
But Tapia died in May 2012 of heart disease that was worsened by prescription drugs, an autopsy revealed in August 2012. Tapia was found dead inside of his Albuquerque, N.M., home on May 27.
Tapia’s wife, Teresa said the autopsy revealed that the fighter’s death was the accidental result of heart problems and the onset of Hepatitis C. Teresa Tapia said her husband was taking medication for his bipolar disorder and high blood pressure.
A survivor of a tough upbringing in Albuquerque’s Wells Park neighborhood, Tapia’s father was reportedly murdered before he was born and his mother was murdered when he was a small child, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents as he struggled with depression throughout much of his life.