BOXING UPDATE

Wilder KO’s Stiverne…Now What?

Wilder KO’s Stiverne…Now What?
Deontay Wilder came up with a big win. Showtime Boxing

The stage was set for a rematch of their 2015 WBC Heavyweight title fight. Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21KOs) was now the challenger, and Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) was entering his sixth title defense after defeating Stiverne in his only win by decision. Because of that, Wilder wanted a knockout win badly. Stiverne was coming in 10 days shy of not having fought in two years, with his last fight the loss to Wilder. Needless to say, each guy had a lot riding on this fight. Not to mention, the heavyweight division is in the midst of a small renaissance.

Each guy came to the ring with a rapper rapping the entrance music on the ringwalk with him. Both also wore gladiator-inspired ring garb. After the introductions, it was time to get down to business. The crowd at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and television audience were all set to enjoy a classic big man boxing match.

Wilder opened the fight pumping jab after jab. Not the quick, stiff Larry Holmes jab, or a Lennox Lewis jab that feels more like a straight right. Wilder’s jab is a mix of a range finder, and a chin checker. He wanted to test Stiverne’s reaction time as well. Stiverne obliged meekly responding with a few punches of his own. It only took Wilder two minutes into the fight to nail his timing and knock Stiverne down with a classic left-right combo. After he got up, Wilder stood there waiting for him, fists at his side in the center of the ring as if Stiverne was his son and came home after the teacher called about his behavior. Dazed and confused, Stiverne approached Wilder shuffling his fists and unsure of what to do. He threw a couple punches which were returned with fury. Down he went again. This time, the left started his downfall. Wilder was circling as the ref counted like a great white shark smelling the blood of a young seal. After Stiverne rose up and the fight was cleared by the ref to resume, Wilder breached the water as if he was the star of a Shark Week special. He swerved in, shoulder-feinted, and struck Stiverne with a vicious right-left-right combo. The ref stepped in to call off the fight, Wilder almost swung him off his back like a small child getting tossed from a carnival ride. The massacre had come to an end.

The new questions are: When will Anthony Joshua fight Wilder? Will Joseph Parker defend his portion of the heavyweight crown against either of them? Will the promoters find a way to make this a triangle of fights to determine the undisputed, unified heavyweight champion? These are the questions fight fans want to have answered immediately. Wilder called out Joshua after the fight, so that’ll hopefully jumpstart the proceedings of that potential fight. As for now, let’s celebrate the heavyweight division being back up to par and the fact that Wilder is the American heavyweight champ we’ve been longing for.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome