Wilder KO’s Stiverne…Now What?
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.