Deontay Wilder destroys Bermane Stiverne in Round 1 of heavyweight title rematch
NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder said during fight week that he wanted a “body” on his record. Whether it was in poor taste or not, he fought with that intention in the sixth defense of his WBC heavyweight title.
Wilder (39-0, 38 knockouts) dropped Stiverne three times Saturday in Brooklyn, with the final knockdown leaving the large man unconscious and slumped along the ropes in a frightening scene at the 2:59 mark of the opening round. There was an eery silence as officials and medical personnel made sense of the abrupt conclusion.
“I’m too athletic. I told y’all I’m mobile, I’m hostile, I am the king baby and no heavyweight can compare to me,” said Wilder, evoking Muhammad Ali in his speech if not technique. “I’m very confident in what I do and tonight I showed that.”
That said, Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) had come in nearly 16 pounds heavier in their rematch (254.75 pounds in the rematch, 239 in their first meeting in January 2015), and had not fought since winning a 10-round decision over journeyman Derric Rossy in November 2015.
Stiverne, who turned 39 this week, took the fight after Luis Ortiz was dropped from the main event when his pre-fight drug test came up positive for the banned substances chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide in late September.
But the spectacle of Wilder finishing off the normally durable Stiverne in front of 10,924 made for an ideal setup to discuss his intention of facing Anthony Joshua in the most significant fight that could be made at heavyweight between boxers today.
“I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now. I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge?” said Wilder, 32, in a challenge to Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), who holds two titles and stopped late replacement Carlos Takam on October 28. “I’ve been waiting for a long time, I know I’m the champion, I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”
Wilder, whose bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics was America’s only super heavyweight medal since Riddick Bowe’s silver in 1988, voiced his “frustration” after yet another big name fight fell through, following Alexander Povetkin testing positive for meldonium before a scheduled fight against Wilder last year.
“So much frustration, it just seemed like my career, it’s been crazy,” he said. “So many guys using PEDs.”
While Wilder has made it clear he wants a fight with Joshua, he isn’t as excited about chasing a fight with Joshua’s compatriot Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 KOs), the WBC’s No. 3 contender.
“A king don’t chase the peasants. A king takes kings,” said Wilder. “I want Joshua. If he don’t give me the fight we have other plans. Why should I go to England to fight a peasant without the king on the contract?”
“The world want Joshua, the world want Wilder, I want Joshua. Joshua come and see me baby. No more dodging, no more dodging, no more excuses. Make the date, don’t wait.”
Boxing fans don’t want to wait, either. They’ve been waiting for a truly big heavyweight title fight for a long time, and now, we’re on the precipice of such an event.