Gerald Washington to face Deontay Wilder Feb. 25 on Fox
Gerald Washington, a former football player at USC, will tackle the assignment of facing heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder on Feb. 25 on Fox, it was announced on Monday. RingTV.com first reported that Washington was the leading candidate and in talks to face Wilder on Friday after Polish heavyweight Andrzej Wawrzyk tested positive for a performance enhancing drug and dropped out of the fight. It’s Wilder’s first bout since he had multiple surgeries on his right biceps and hand following injuries sustained in his knockout-win against Chris Arreola in July. He will face a fellow American heavyweight in the undefeated yet still unproven Washington, who has an intriguing back story.
“I was disappointed when Wawrzyk tested positive for a banned substance and wasn’t available to fight,” Wilder (37-0, 36 knockouts) said in a prepared statement of a fight that will take place at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, his home state. “I didn’t want to disappoint my loyal fans in Birmingham, who have always supported me. I’m glad Gerald Washington stepped up to the challenge and allowed us to go forward with the show. He’s a tall heavyweight (6-foot-6) with a good jab and the kind of test that I need coming back from surgery on my biceps muscle and my right hand.”
Washington (18-0-1, 12 knockouts) is a 34-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who lined up at tight end and defensive end at the University of Southern California. He recorded a fourth-round knockout over former title challenger Ray Austin in his last fight on the undercard of Wilder-Arreola and if he beats Wilder, he would become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion (his dad is African-American and his mother is Mexican-American). He was already in training to appear on the Feb. 25 card in Alabama.
“I’m very happy to get this opportunity to fight for my first world championship,” Washington said in a release. “I know that I’ll be fighting Deontay Wilder in his backyard, but that adds more excitement to the fight for me. I’m looking forward to going to Birmingham and coming away with a victory just like I did in my last fight there.” The broadcast also features Tony Harrison and Jarrett Hurd meeting in a 12-round 154-pound title eliminator, as well as Dominic Breazeale facing undefeated Izuagbe Ugonoh in another heavyweight bout.