Wilder Speaks To BTG: "One Champion, one face, one name: and his name is Deontay Wilder!"

  • By Behind The Gloves
  • 17 Aug, 2017

"There's going be one Champion, one face, one name: and his name is Deontay Wilder!"

WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay   ‘The Bronze Bomber’   Wilder   (38-0-0, 37 KO’s)   recently spoke with Michelle Joy Phelps of   Behind The Gloves   regarding the state of the current Heavyweight division, as well as addressing potential clashes with Luis Ortiz and IBF/WBA ‘Super’ World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua…
American Wilder captured the WBC World Heavyweight title with a dominant decision win over Bermane Stiverne in January 2015.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

MJP: “Wladimir Klitschko recently announced his retirement. What are your thoughts on that?”

DW:   “Like I said before: he had everyone guessing what he was going to do. Whether he was going to retire or not. I felt that if he retired, it makes him look good going out on top. It’s good to see the former Champions end their career on top. A lot of guys feel like they can still keep going because as a fighter you build a mentality of “I can still do this” – it’s a different feeling. A lot of people don’t understand that mentality you have as a fighter. But if he would have fought on and lost again, I felt it would’ve harmed his legacy a little bit. As you can see, many of our [former] Champions have continued to fight and lost. People will only remember the last fight you have. No matter what you do in life, they only remember the last thing. So I think it was a good idea for him to do so [retire].”

MJP: “Do you think the outcome would have been the same if he had taken the rematch with Anthony Joshua?”

DW:   “I’m not really sure. He [Klitschko] did a wonderful job the first time. In two different times in the fight: he had the fight won. I had him up on the scorecards myself [at the time of the stoppage] but there was two different times where he could’ve got the fight over with, and he didn’t push on the gas. For that reason, we don’t know. A lot of people say yes, a lot of people say no. In my opinion? I really don’t know. But again, I think he made the right decision. He’s definitely a ‘Hall of Famer’ so he’ll go down in history. Now he can start having more time with his family, his kids and stuff like that. He’s going to enjoy his life even more now.”

MJP: “There was a bit of an issue with the WBC: They ordered you to rematch Bermane Stiverne, but you wanted to go ahead and try and move forward with a fight with Luis Ortiz. Now the WBA have ordered Joshua to face Ortiz where does that leave you and Ortiz?”

DW:  We’re still moving forward. Like I said, no peer pressure. We’re still moving forward. I was just putting out the idea: ‘Hey, it was going to be a megafight on November 11 in Vegas [Joshua vs Klitschko II] and we can still keep that date in Vegas. Let’s do it. The world is screaming for it [Joshua vs Wilder]. I get messages all the time and after a while it’s going to get to the point where it’s in high demand, especially when I’m finished doing what I’m doing, as soon as everything is done and we’re able to announce what’s going on. So we’re still moving forward, and with the Stiverne thing? I’m not really worried about Stiverne. I really think Stiverne needs to fight someone else. After two years, only fighting one time and being dropped by a guy named Derrick Rossy. A lot of my people who were there that I know and they said Stiverne lost too, but it was given to him. I don’t think that’s enough to come back in the ring and fight somebody like me that’s been active. This has been my longest lay-off, but I’m still more active than him [Stiverne]. I still care about fighters. I care about their health and what state boxing can put it in. Especially when you’re dealing with a killer like me. I’m definitely that guy. I am the hardest-hitting Heavyweight in the division. I’m not going to say ‘one of them’ – I’ve got great confidence that I am the hardest-hitting Heavyweight in the division. Stiverne trying to fight me after what I did to him in the first one [fight], putting him in the hospital for several days, gave him a concussion and him pissing blood and him almost losing his life. That’s something serious that should be taken into consideration. We’re going to fight, of course. We’re on the verge of fighting, but I just want him to get more time. I really do. I think that the WBC made a mistake in automatically making him a mandatory after that Povetkin ordeal. I think they really made a mistake and I think they should correct it, because things have got to go on. Things have got to push forward. Nobody wants to see that fight. He’s got this ill will towards me, that he’s just trying to prove himself, but he’s just fighting his own demons, because he knew from the first fight. He claimed that he was ready, but he was really scared and when I got in the ring, I beat the shit out of him. He’s just facing his demons because he talked all of that stuff. When you’re a fighter and you talk so much and you can’t back up what you say, it kind of haunts you a little bit because you wasn’t a man of your word. I think he’s dealing with that and he’s battling with himself, and for that he just needs to pump the breaks and sit back and re-evaluate himself and try and get somebody under his belt before coming to me: because once that fight happens with me and him ‘Oh, boy!’ – That’s all I can say!”

Wilder has been linked with a clash with another unbeaten Heavyweight in the shape of Cuban Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz.

MJP: “Eddie Hearn spoke this morning and he said that he didn’t think a fight between you and Joshua could happen next considering that he   [Joshua ] has two mandatories standing in front of you. Do you think that fight is going to happen anytime soon? Or is it going to be a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather type situation?”

DW:   “It’s definitely not going to be nowhere near a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. If that does ever occur, it will be on their behalf and not ours. I have openly stated who I want and I have been calling out these Champions. A lot of people are giving me a hard time about people I’ve fought and stuff like that, but without being real with themselves. They’ve gotta be real with themselves and look at the Heavyweight division overall and say: ‘Who fought who?” – if I haven’t fought nobody, ain’t nobody fought nobody. Fury beat Klitschko, he didn’t get the praise. Joshua’s just now fought Klitschko. Even before then they were still giving him [Joshua] praise and I don’t understand that. I don’t understand that at all. The only thing I do understand is: I’ve been the one that’s been chosen for people to hate on. Which is fine. It’s okay, I accept that responsibility. Because for every black man in America it’s always been hard. No black man that’s been in boxing – or anything – has been praised, and that’s facts. Even back in the day, there’s always been hatred and stuff like that. But I’m the one to accept that responsibility with open arms, so when I do what I said I’m going to do then the laughs are going to be on all of the faces that doubted me. So I can’t wait for the opportunity. I can’t wait for that time to happen. We’re just chilling and relaxing and we’re just going to do what we do. We ain’t going to pressure nothing. Just like I told them: if they want it, they can come to us. We’re not going to keep saying this and saying that. We’re just going to let it go with the flow and after a while it’s going to be in high demand. Then it’s going to happen and we’re going to really see who the man in the division is: and I know for sure who the man in the division is. There’s going to be one Champion, one face, one name: and his name is Deontay Wilder.”

MJP: “Do you think that because you’re 6 foot-seven? You really are big and solid. Because you are as big as you are, it isn’t every day that you’re going to meet somebody of your size, and when you fight you make it look really easy. Do you think that’s because of the size advantage, that people from the outside looking in it looks like ‘Oh, that wasn’t much competition’?”

DW:  Well, I’m not the biggest. Most of the guys are 6 5”, 6 6”, 6 7”. My height does play as an advantage, the length of my arm does play as an advantage, but if I’m not able to capitalise on all of the things that I have – training hard and being able to understand what I’m doing in the ring, with the IQ that I have in the ring – then all of that goes out of the window. It’s not advantage unless you know how to use it. Just because you’re tall and powerful, that really doesn’t mean nothing. Height and size doesn’t mean a thing really. It’s just a mental thing that people put in their head, like: “Oh, he’s tall” or “he’s long” or “I ain’t got no chance”. In life, you can’t go on worrying about what you have or what you don’t have. You’ve just gotta step up and accept the consequences and do the best you can. And with me: I’m ready. I want to unify. That’s my main thing. I hear a lot of these other guys that try to become Champions and stuff. Okay, that’s easy. I was going that when I was a prospect too: that’s what you’re supposed to do. But as a Champion, I’m calling out other Champions and they are ignoring me, because they know. They know I’m just confident. I’m a guy that’s super confident in my ability and my skills and what I’m able to do. A lot of people can say what they want, they can look on the outside looking in. But at the end of the day, when a fighter steps in the ring it’s a different world when you get in there with me. Many fighters have said it. Many fighters have expressed it themselves. The ones that will tell the truth, will let you know what the deal is. Most of the guys that I have fought, after they fought me, they’ve had little success afterwards because of what I’ve done. Especially the ones that I’ve knocked out crazy: like Szpilka. Szpilka will never be the same. Bermane Stiverne will never be the same fighter. That’s just what it is. I’m just confident. I’m just super confident in what I say I’m going to do. That’s why I talk a lot of sh*t, because I want to back it up. I want to talk so much to the point where I must back it up. It’s going to be if I fail, I lose everything. I want to put myself in that position, because I’m confident. That’s all you need when you’re dealing with combat and war. You’ve gotta be confident in what you’re able to do and go and do what you say you’re going to do: and Deontay Wilder is ready to prove that to the world. I’m ready to bring all of the belts back to America, and put America back on top. But at the same time, I’m going to need America’s help to. In this country we’re too modest, we’re too polite when we’re dealing with other countries and things like that. In America: Americans bash Americans. In other countries, they are for their people. I never understood that. Because if I was from another country, that country would be mine. I would be the man of that country. But being in America, you’ve got all of these American analysts and supposed to be ‘boxing people’, but they bash their own kind. Then they’ll praise the foreigners. They praise the foreigners before they give compliments and praise to their own kind. I never understand that. So when you get a casual boxing fan that doesn’t know nothing about boxing, or just coming into boxing, and they listen to these people because they look up to these people or they see these people as somebody from boxing and they think they should know what they’re talking about, and when they say negative things towards their own countrymen, or he ain’t this or he ain’t this, then that’s what’s instilled in people’s heads. So they’re going to believe what they see without even doing their research. The hard thing about it is people don’t even want to do their research. They don’t want to look up things and find out things for themselves. In this game they always go off of hearsay. The first thing I hear is the first thing I believe. All of these guys like Teddy Atlas put all of this crazy stuff out – certain people believe those things – and these guy are the same guys that have been hating on me from day one since I got into boxing. I gave them no reason. The only I’ve given people is entertainment and knockouts, and that’s what they come to see, so why are all the haters on me? I don’t understand it, but it don’t get to me at all. It’s more heat to the fire, to do what I’ve got to do for any opponent that steps in the ring with me.”

WBC World Heavyweight Champion Wilder has stopped 37 of his 38 opponents, including a highlight reel, one-punch KO of Polish challenger Artur Szpilka in January 2016.

MJP: “Do you think that like Floyd Mayweather, he could be the best boxer in his division of our time, and yet he still will never get credit. Do you feel like that’s the same boat you’re in? You feel like you can dominate, but – for whatever reason – people have made their mind up about you?”

DW:   “Oh, yeah. Definitely. That’s definitely me. You know, Evander Holyfield dealt with the same thing when he was coming up until he beat Mike Tyson – and even after that. But that’s just being a black man in America: let’s just face it. That’s being a black man in America. It’s never been easy for a black man in America, and it never will be until things change. People sometimes don’t want to see the black man that’s doing positive things win. We’re too strong. We’re naturally strong, we’re mentally strong. A lot of people feel that if we get too much praise we’ll end up taking over. People are scared. People are scared of black people rising because of the strength that we may have. I accept it. Like I said, it’s fuel to my fire. They ain’t doing nothing but helping me out in the long run, because I don’t take no offence. I’m too dark to take offence. My skin is too much. With that being said, it’s only motivation. It only lights my fire. There’s a lot of fake people around. There’s a lot of fake people in boxing that will be in your face, but the next minute come in with your rival or will like certain things about them, and then will be in your face and talk about ‘You’re going to beat his ass, this and that’. We see it all. I’ve got eyes everywhere. Ears everywhere. Just because I don’t approach a person or say nothing to them, doesn’t necessarily mean nothing. Doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t know, but I know. There’s a lot of fake people around, that’s why I stay to myself, I stay close to my team and the people that have been with me from day one and the guys that are with me for sure. Because it’s hard. It’s already hard. You don’t have no support from some of these people, they’d rather bash you, they’d rather hate on you. They want to see you fall before you even gain anything. Which is okay, because the Bible says ‘Those that come last, shall come first’ – and I’m in the last of those that will come first.”

MJP: “Deontay you’ve proven a lot. You’ve proven that you need to be in with the big guys – we’d love to see you fight, obviously, Anthony Joshua – but I wanted to know, how far long in negotiations were you with Luis Ortiz? Or was it just all rumours floating around?”

DW:   “Oh, no. This isn’t rumours. This is real. This is real. I want Luis Ortiz. Luis Ortiz is considered the Bogeyman of boxing. He’s considered one of the most avoided guys in boxing, which I don’t understand why. Even back in the time when they brought up about me and Luis Ortiz, I had no interest in fighting Luis Ortiz because I knew Luis Ortiz was doping. I knew this. I’m 2-0. When I say a man is doping: they’re doping. I’m not in this sport to dodge nobody or duck. I dare anyone to put ‘fear’ or ‘being scared of somebody’ under my name.”

MJP: “Do you feel like he still is? Or you feel like he isn’t now, which is why you are open to fighting him?”

DW:   “Well, time has passed, he’s even had a couple of fights. He’s with Al Haymon as well and they’ve been doing a great job. As you can see with my previous opponents that’s been testing me, the thing about me when dealing with other fighters: they know the risk. They know how serious I am. I’m like this untold story, of this man, this legendary myth of me having this tremendous power that ‘if I touch you I’ll f**king kill you type of power’. When you’re listening to war stories, and not only just listening, but you see it for yourself? Like any fighter that was in Brooklyn when I knocked Szpilka out, they already got it in their head. Why do you think Povetkin did what they did? Because they know that this man [Wilder] has got power and it’s real: and he can take you out at any given time. Look at the fight with [Gerald] Washington. A lot of people didn’t know my strategy. People will try and say anything. You can’t lose a round, you’ve gotta knock somebody out. You can’t just beat them or it wasn’t a good fight or you barely won. It’s a lose/lose situation that I’m in. You just can’t please people. It’s a lose/lose situation. With the Washington fight, I did what I wanted. I gave him the confidence the ability to think that he was in there with me. Boxing is a patient game. It’s an IQ that you must have. I wasn’t getting touched like that. It was easy. I don’t even breathe. The thing about me, I don’t get tired. Even if it may look it, I’m not tired. I’m enjoying myself in that ring. I actually enjoy myself fighting. I love it. It’s a therapy for me. With that being said, I just can’t wait. I can’t wait. Because once everything comes to pass, I’m fighting people that they want to see me fight – because everybody I fight there’s always going to be something, because of the form and the fashion that I do it in. I train my ass off to do what I do! Nothing is easy. The hard part is the camp. That’s the hard part. When I get in the fight, I want it look easy. That’s what people have a problem with, because I’ve done it so easily and I’ve knocked all of these guys out senseless. I don’t just knock you out: it’s the fashion that I knock you out. You don’t know whether you might spaz out, you may get knocked out and look like you’re dead, you’re probably going to go to the hospital, you have all of these knots on your head: you might even lose your life when you’re dealing with somebody like me. That’s just what I bring to the game. I’m dangerous. I’m a dangerous fighter, so I understand why these other Champions don’t want to fight me yet. I understand it. Then it makes me look like I don’t want to fight nobody, or this and that. Which is fine, because in my career I had nothing to do with some of these guys testing positive for drugs or backing out of the fight and stuff like that. But still, people don’t care. They just want to make it seem like I don’t want to fight. Some people just try to get under your skin and say what they want to say, but I tell them ‘keep talking’ because there’s going to be a time where I always say that you’re going to look stupid trying to make excuses for my success. And I mean that.”

MJP: “You and Anthony Joshua are the two heaviest handed fighters in the Heavyweight division. Do you see that fight going the distance? Do you think that you could be the first to knock out Anthony Joshua?”

DW:   “That fight [with Joshua] would not go the distance. That fight would not go the distance. It would be too much to prove, it’d be too much on the line. Both guys would be eager and so fired up to win. Both of us want the knockout. I think with that fight, that’s the only way that fight would be properly finished is if either one of us get knocked out: and I’m confident that I’ll be the one knocking him [Joshua] out. To be honest, I like Joshua. I like what he’s doing in his country. I think it’s a beautiful thing, because he’s a fighter. With him being a fighter, we’re all in the same family. He’s a fighter, I’m a fighter and everybody else is a fighter. If one fighter is winning around the world, everybody is winning. At the end of the day, people are talking and that’s what we want. When nobody is talking, then it’ll be a problem. It’ll be a dead sport. Nobody would be talking. He’s winning and his country supports him fully and that’s a beautiful thing: I love it. And he’s a black man, so I love it. But there’s going to be a time when he’s going to have to face this black man over here in America [Wilder] and I’m going to overshadow some dreams, and it will be a knockout. This is what I’m confident about. But I don’t think Joshua is confident in himself facing me though. I really don’t.”

A unification bout with IBF/WBA ‘Super’ World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua is top of Deontay Wilder’s wishlist.

MJP: “With you both being Champions, who would be the ‘A’ side and who would be the ‘B’ side [in negotiations]?”

DW:   “It all depends. I bring a lot to the table, whether people want to admit it or not. Of course he has the other belts, because of the opportunities that have been given to him. If you look at his resume, he ain’t fought nobody but one person. I been calling Klitschko out a year, two years ago and what did Klitschko tell me? ‘I need to fight somebody else… I need to have another name on my record…’ – but he goes and fights Joshua, who didn’t have nobody on his resume. But his country still praises him for that. Like I said, there’s been a lot of ducking and dodging so a lot of things ain’t been my fault. I can understand if I backed out of fights or if I didn’t accept fights if something came up: but these fights have not happened because of my opponents. Because of the other guy. It’s never been about me, it’s never been about my team. It’s been about the other side. So with that being said, definitely 50-50. Definitely. At the end of the day, I want all of the belts and I will get all of the belts no matter how it may happen. He doesn’t bring no much more excitement than I bring. So it’s definitely 50-50.”

MJP: “What message do you have for Anthony Joshua? I know there’s ‘Deontay Wilder’ and ‘The Bronze Bomber’ – What does ‘The Bronze Bomber’ have to say to Anthony Joshua?”

DW:   “‘The Bronze Bomber’ is just plain and simple: don’t wait, make the date. I don’t blame Joshua, I don’t blame you [Joshua]: I blame Eddie Hearn. Because Eddie knows what’s going to happen. Eddie sees all of his fighters and he doesn’t want to get rid of the cash cow yet. I understand, but there’s going to be a time where there’s going to be no dodging, no ducking, there’s going to be no way around it. This fight must happen. It’s gonna happen. There’s no way around it, and when it does happen: be ready.”



Interview by: Michelle Joy Phelps

You can follow Michelle on Twitter at: @MichellePhelps


Transcript by: Rob Tebbutt

You can also follow Rob on Twitter at: @Rob Tebbutt

By Behind The Gloves 17 Oct, 2017

IBF World Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr. (22-0-0, 19 KO's) will make the first defence of his title against former WBA Super Lightweight belt-holder Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KO's).

The bout is currently pencilled in for January 2018 with Brooklyn's Barclays Center rumoured to be the chosen venue.  

'The Truth' will be eager to kick on from his title-winning performance last time out against Britain's Kell Brook, by shining in-front on a large US TV audience on CBS network Showtime .  Peterson, meanwhile, will seek to upset the odds once more, as was the case back in 2011 when he outpointed Amir Khan to unify the WBA and IBF 140 pound titles.  

The Washington DC-native should provide a stern test, but it one which most will expect 2012 Olympian Spence Jr. to come through in convincing fashion. With WBA/WBC Champion Keith Thurman (28-0-0, 22 KO's) having recently announced that he shall return to the ring in January, a blockbuster Welterweight World Championship double-header, featuring both men on the same bill has also been mooted.

Should Spence Jr. and Thurman come through their respective match-ups without any issues, the prospect of a tantalising unification bout between the two undefeated Americans becomes a realistic proposition: with talks of a summer showdown between the pair growing louder and louder. 

Article by Gareth Gonet

You can follow Gareth Gonet on Twitter at: @garethgonet

By Behind The Gloves 17 Oct, 2017

Carlos Takam has replaced Kubrat Pulev as the IBF mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office. 

Frenchman Takam is rated at number three with the governing body and has been on the hunt for a showdown with the British star, and gets his golden chance at ripping away Joshua’s titles in the Welsh capital after Pulev picked up a shoulder injury in sparring.

“I received a call from Kalle Sauerland late afternoon to inform me that Pulev had injured his shoulder and maybe ruled out of the fight – this was later confirmed by his doctor,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line which is Carlos Takam. 

“When the Pulev fight was announced I made a deal with Takam's team to begin camp and be on standby for this fight. When I called them this evening they were overjoyed and good to go. It's a difficult position for AJ having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam – this hasn't happened in his career before but he is ready for all comers on October 28.”

Joshua’s clash with Takam is part of a huge night of action in Cardiff where the 2012 London Olympic Gold medal man’s bitter foe Dillian Whyte aims to take a giant step to his first World title shot by facing Robert Helenius for the WBC Silver strap.

Kal Yafai defends his WBA Wold Super-Flyweight title against Japanese mandatory challenger Sho Ishida and Irish sensation Katie Taylor challenges for her first World title as she takes on two-weight World champion Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight crown.

There’s a mouth-watering British and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight battle between Frank Buglioni, Lenroy Thomas and Dave Allen rematch for the Commonwealth Heavyweight title and Team GB Olympian and Welsh talent Joe Cordina appears in his fifth pro outing.

A limited number of tickets remain on sale via  www.StubHub.co.uk .

Accessibility, ambulant and wheelchair tickets – please contact the Principality stadium via 02920 822432 – also on sale from midday Tuesday.

Official hospitality packages are available to purchase directly from Principality Stadium Experience. Both private suite and premium lounge packages are available to purchase, with prices starting from £450 per person + VAT. For further information please call the team on 02920 822 413.

Official Travel & Hospitality packages are also available via Sportsworld via www.sportsworld.co.uk  or by calling 0208 9712966

Please ensure you plan your travel into the city before purchasing your tickets and allow plenty of time for additional security checks at the venue - please visit http://www.principalitystadium.wales/events/v/joshua-v-pulev-2017-10-28  to view the travel page for the event.

By Behind The Gloves 15 Oct, 2017
From the Barclays Center in New York, Showtime carried a card featuring three Super Welterweight Champions defending their titles. It was a card that had garnered much attention due to the fighters involved and subsequent match-ups that could be made following the night's results.
Jarrett Hurd def. Austin Trout via 10th round RTD

In the first bout of the evening, undefeated IBF World Super Welterweight Champion Jarrett 'Swift' Hurd (21-0-0, 15 KO's), made the first defence of his title against former WBA belt-holder Austin 'No Doubt' Trout (30-4-0, 17 KO's).

The fight would represent a solid test for Hurd, with the veteran Trout having shared the ring with stellar competition throughout his career, with the likes of 'Canelo' Alvarez, Miguel Cotto and Erislandy Lara among the names on his resume.

The early rounds of the contest saw Trout rolling back the years, doing tremendous work behind a snappy southpaw jab and using his customary elusiveness to off-set the tense-looking Hurd. The 27-year-old Champion appeared flat-footed, plodding forward and looking unsure of himself offensively. In his previous outing in claiming the IBF title against Tony Harrison, Hurd had similar problems, struggling to pin Harrison down before eventually grinding him down for the stoppage.

Despite Trout's early success, it was evident that his shots were having little effect on the young, strong Champion. Hurd continued to march through Trout's best work, closing the distance in a bid to keep the pressure on the older man. Trout would continue to work hard in an attempt to put rounds in the bank, but the question would be whether or not he could sustain his efforts.

The middle rounds saw Hurd begin to find more consistent success, culminating in a huge seventh round wherein he hurt Trout on several occasions with a series of solid right hands. An accidental headbutt saw a cut open up over Hurd's left eye, however, the Champion was unfazed, and appeared energised by the sight of his own blood. Hurd would once again walk through the best Trout had to offer, applying more and more pressure and systematically breaking his man down.

Entering the tenth - and final - round of the contest, referee Eddie Claudio called for the ringside doctor to inspect Trout’s badly swollen right eye. The fight would continue, with Hurd smelling blood, and laying a beating on the stricken Trout from the beginning of the session. After hurting Trout with a succession of heavy blows, Hurd unloaded in the final thirty seconds of the round in a bid to score the stoppage. To his credit, Trout would survive the onslaught, but after wearily trudging to the corner, he was met by the ringside physician and his cornermen who called a halt to the contest.

After a slow start, Hurd picked up the pace through the middle rounds en route to earning a solid victory against an experienced, name-opponent in Austin Trout. While he still showed his inexperience in stages, it would prove to be a successful learning fight for the Maryland-native and one that he will surely grow from. After suffering his first stoppage defeat in a long career, 32-year-old Trout will surely contemplate retirement after his second consecutive reverse in World title fights. For Hurd, his next bout could come against WBC and WBA Champions Jermell Charlo or Erislandy Lara respectively: both highly-anticipated unification bouts that would be warmly received by boxing fans.

Jermell Charlo def. Erickson Lubin via 1st round KO

In a match-up of considerable intrigue and interest, undefeated hot-shots Jermell Charlo (30-0-0, 15 KO's) and the precocious Erickson Lubin (18-1-0, 13 KO's) squared off for Charlo's WBC World Super Welterweight title.

Lubin, earmarked by many as a future star after turning professional under Mike Tyson's 'Iron Mike Promotions' in 2013, had been fast-tracked through the rankings towards a title shot. After blitzing his way through a series of fringe contenders, Lubin found himself in the mandatory slot for Charlo’s WBC title. With the bout pitting two of the sport's best young fighters against each other. Fans questioned whether lupin had bitten off more than he could chew at the early stage in his career, whereas others questioned whether Charlo would be able to keep pace with the talented 22-year-old challenger.

... Those questions were answered rather quickly.

The first - and only - round of the fight began with both men probing patiently in the middle of the ring. Considering the undoubted talent of each fighter, the chess-match was of little surprise. While Lubin appeared to settle quickly into the bout, the contest exploded into action with 28 seconds left in the round when Charlo uncorked a perfect right uppercut that landed high on the temple of Lubin.

While appearing seemingly innocuous at first glance, replays showed Lubin ducking into the shot, causing maximum damage as he dropped heavily to the canvas in eery fashion. The referee waved off the contest with the count at six, handing Charlo a spectacular first round blowout victory: it was quite the statement from the unbeaten Texan, and made a mockery of pre-fight predictions of a closely-contested battle.

In his post-fight interview, Charlo spoke of his desire to unify the division against fellow American Jarrett Hurd, who had retained his IBF strap in the previous bout in the evening.

´╗┐Erislandy Lara def. Terrell Gausha via 12 round UD

Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KO's) retained his WBA World Super Welterweight title with a convincing - if underwhelming - twelve round unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Terrell Gausha (20-1-0, 9 KO's).

Former Cuban amateur standout Lara is a headache to fighters and fans alike for his perceived 'safety first' approach in the ring. While his skill and ability have never been in question, Lara has faced criticism throughout his career for a lack of excitement. Despite being an undoubted master of the sweet science, fans want action and Lara historically does not always provide it. Regardless, following his measured performance in defeating Gausha, Lara has now defended his WBA Super Welterweight title six times in a row.

The fight, however, did not provide much action, as evidenced by fans counting down the last ten seconds of the rounds and others leaving the arena before the final bell. The biggest moment came in the fourth when Lara landed a right hook-left hand combination that dropped Gausha to the canvas. However, showing the same composure that has drawn ire from his many detractors, Lara was unwilling to step on the gas and go for the stoppage, instead remaining in control for the remainder of the fight.

To his credit, Gausha had some moments of his own, but was never able to sustain his work sufficiently to be a threat in the fight. Lara remained composed until the end of the contest, essentially cruising to a resounding unanimous decision victory with scores of (117-110, 117-110 & 116-111).

In truth, Gausha's performance was largely disappointing and he will have to improve drastically in order to warrant another title shot. Lara on the other hand is in desperate need of an adequate dance-partner in order to raise his own game and get the recognition his talent so obviously deserved. In his post-fight interview, Lara stated he would be willing to face either Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd in a unification bout. He did say that while he and Charlo are friends, having trained together under Ronnie Shields, boxing is a business and if it has to be done he’ll do it.

Erislandy Lara has the skill many don’t: he just needs a special type of fighter to bring it out.

Article by: Mike Rueda

You can follow Mike on Twitter at: @wolf2988
By Behind The Gloves 15 Oct, 2017

Zhanat Zhakiyanov believes he’s got the bigger heart in his clash unification clash with Ryan Burnett at the SSE Arena in Belfast on October 21, and that will see him add Burnett’s IBF Bantamweight crown to his WBA Super title live on Sky Sports and HBO.

Zhakiyanov climbed off the canvas twice in the opening round in Ohio against Rau’shee Warren in February, but pulled away from the champion to rip his title away via split decision.

The Kazakh enters hostile territory once again in Belfast as he looks to repeat that feat against Burnett, who defends his belt for the first time since claiming it from Lee Haskins in June with a dominant display.

The pair are familiar having sparred when Burnett was beginning his career, and while Zhakiyanov was impressed by Burnett’s win over Haskins, the 35 year old believes his experience and CV shows he’s going to be able to dig deeper and claim both titles next weekend.

“Ryan was a young pro at the time we sparred and has developed into a worthy champion,” said Zhakiyanov. “However, he needs to understand that I have also developed and travelled around the world fighting better opposition.

“I travelled to the U.S to beat Rau’shee Warren in his home town where I went down early and pulled myself off the canvas. I don’t know if Ryan has that experience and heart that I have.

“You have to congratulate Ryan on a good victory over an awkward opponent back in June to win the IBF title, but my style is different to Haskins.

“In comparison to my other opponents, Burnett ranks high but I don’t believe that that he’s the best that I have faced so far. I’d say Karim Guerfi and Rau’shee Warren are better.”

Zhakiyanov’s clash with Burnett tops a huge night of boxing in Belfast as Paul Hyland Jnr defends his IBF European Lightweight title against Stephen Ormond and James Tennyson puts his WBA International Super-Featherweight title against Darren Traynor.

Burnett’s Adam Booth gym mate Josh Kelly fights for the fourth time in the paid ranks, as is his Team GB Rio Olympic teammate Anthony Fowler.

A host of local and Irish talents appear on the bill with Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Super-Lightweight Tyrone McKenna, Lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Gary Cully and Super-Featherweight Feargal McCrory.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £33, £44, £65 and £105 from the SSE Arena Belfast at  www.ssearenabelfast.com  (ticket price includes inside charge) 

VIP tickets priced at £150 are exclusively available from  http://www.matchroomboxing.com/

Face value tickets for October 21 are also be available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/  . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

(Photo Credit: Mark Robinson)

By Behind The Gloves 15 Oct, 2017

Dillian Whyte will face Robert Helenius for the WBC Silver Heavyweight title at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office. 

Whyte made his US debut in August with a 16th KO from 21 wins over Malcolm Tann in his first action since his epic win over Dereck Chisora in their fight of the year contender in Manchester in December.

Whyte has been hunting a big name bout to move into prime position to land a World title fight and has landed that test in the shape of ‘The Nordic Nightmare’, and the two-time European champion Helenius is gunning for a win to land his first World title shot.

Brixton’s Whyte is hunting his own World title showdown with WBC king Wilder, and both he and promoter Eddie Hearn believe a standout win over the giant Finnish-Swede will bring that fight a step closer.

“It's been a very frustrating few months trying to get someone to fight me,” said Whyte. “I thank Robert for stepping up and in two weeks’ time we will fight for the WBC Silver title in Cardiff. I love to fight and I'm looking forward to being back in the ring, getting the victory and moving on to challenge for the World Heavyweight title.”

“This is a huge fight and I’m excited about fighting the winner of last December’s thriller between Whyte and Chisora,” said Helenius. “Chisora and I were scheduled to fight in May but he ran. To my understanding Dillian is not a runner and he will stand and fight. This is a big fight for the Heavyweight division and may the best man win.”

“This is a fight we have been working on for some time and I'm pleased to add it to the huge October 28 show in Cardiff,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “I think we have made it very clear, we want to make Dillian vs. Deontay Wilder and this WBC Silver title will put us in prime position. Helenius is a giant of a man with plenty of experience and this is a tough test for Dillian, it's going to be explosive.”

Whyte’s clash with Helenius is part of a huge night of action in Wales, topped by Anthony Joshua MBE’s World Heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev.

A star-studded cast line-up in support of Joshua’s clash with the Bulgarian, as Kal Yafai defends his WBA Wold Super-Flyweight title against Japanese mandatory challenger Sho Ishida and Irish sensation Katie Taylor challenges for her first World title as she takes on two-weight World champion Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight crown.

There’s a mouth-watering British and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight battle between Frank Buglioni, Lenroy Thomas and Dave Allen rematch for the Commonwealth Heavyweight title and Team GB Olympian and Welsh talent Joe Cordina appears in his fifth pro outing.

A limited number of tickets remain on sale via  www.StubHub.co.uk .

Accessibility, ambulant and wheelchair tickets – please contact the Principality stadium via 02920 822432 – also on sale from midday Tuesday.

Official hospitality packages are available to purchase directly from Principality Stadium Experience. Both private suite and premium lounge packages are available to purchase, with prices starting from £450 per person + VAT. For further information please call the team on 02920 822 413.

Official Travel & Hospitality packages are also available via Sportsworld via www.sportsworld.co.uk  or by calling 0208 9712966

Please ensure you plan your travel into the city before purchasing your tickets and allow plenty of time for additional security checks at the venue - please visit http://www.principalitystadium.wales/events/v/joshua-v-pulev-2017-10-28  to view the travel page for the event.

By Behind The Gloves 15 Oct, 2017

George Groves has successfully advanced to the semi-final stages of the World Boxing Super Series with a stunning fourth round stoppage over Swindon’s Jamie Cox.

The challenger certainly made an impression in the opening rounds with his aggression, landing several power shots that appeared to fluster the WBA 'Super' World Super Middleweight champion.

Groves appeared out of his comfort zone early on as Cox got the better of several exchanges, backing the champion up against the ropes and landing some crowd-pleasing flurries.

However, the Hammersmith native’s class, composure and experience enabled him to find occasional openings for the right hand, before connecting with a sickening right uppercut to the body in the fourth round that left his opponent reeling on the canvas and unable to continue.

After winning their respective quarter-finals, Groves is now scheduled to meet Chris Eubank Jr. - who required a mere three rounds to emphatically dispatch of Turkey’s Avni Yilidirim last weekend in Stuttgart - in a mouth-watering domestic clash. The semi-final contest is expected to take place around January or February and potentially is a stadium fight, according to promoter Kalle Sauerland, with Stamford Bridge the rumoured destination.

“I wasn’t particularly impressed, but he did what he had to do.” Eubank Jr. said in regards to his rival’s performance.

Article by Navi Singh

You can follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre__obscuro

By Behind The Gloves 14 Oct, 2017
Amidst a plethora of high profile match ups, this Saturday’s super-welterweight triple header at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center has somewhat flown under the radar. The PBC on Showtime card will see three of the four belter-holders from the stacked 154 pound division, put their titles on the line against a triumvirate of hungry challengers.

In the main event WBA Super champion Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KO’s) faces off with the undefeated Tyrell Gausha (20-0-0, 9 KO’s). The Cuban, who is perhaps best known for his contentious reverse to Mexican pay-per view star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, burst on to the world scene back in 2012 with a first round knockout of Ronald Hearns – son of legendary six weight champ Thomas “Hitman” Hearns. 'The Gold of Guantanamo' then captured the WBA 'Regular' strap with a decision victory over Ishe Smith in late 2014. A series of successful defences were to follow, before being granted 'Super Champion' status by the governing body prior to his last contest (a 4th round KO of former champion Yuri Foreman). Having been schooled within his homeland's rigorous amateur programme, 'The American Dream' possesses an impressive arsenal of boxing skills, including impeccable timing, defence and a rapier like left cross which he lands with stunning precision. In-spite of his wealth of talent and world championship success, Lara has thus far failed to capture the imagination of the American boxing public: who are - for the most part - un-enamoured with his patient, defensive approach.

In the opposite corner on Saturday night will stand undefeated challenger Tyrell Gausha. Whilst undefeated, the Ohioan is very much untested at world level. 'The Grandmaster’s' best win to date came via a 7th round TKO of veteran gatekeeper Orlando Lora: with Lora retiring on his stool due to a cut eye at the end of the sixth. Prior to the finish, Gausha had exhibited impressive counter-punching ability, continually getting through with sharp counter left hooks on his slower opponent. Whilst the thirty-year-old has shown flashes of promise thus far in his fledgling career, it is hard to imagine that many will be tempted by the wide betting odds being offered on the WBA World Super Welterweight crown changing hands this Saturday.

Chief support will be provided by WBC boss Jermell Charlo (29-0-0, 14 KO’s) defending his title against the highly-touted Erickson Lubin (18-0-0, 13 KO’s) in a mouth-watering clash between two of the sport's brightest talents. Now in his second defence, the Texan will seek to silence his detractors once more, following a devastating knockout of Charles Hartley last time out.

Having left long-time trainer Ronnie Shields following a lacklustre decision win over Vanes Martirosyan in 2015, the younger Charlo twin (by one minute) appears to be flourishing under the tutelage of Derrick James, demonstrating notably improved punching power in his most recent trips to the ring. The Houston native comes into Saturday’s contest on the back of three straight stoppage wins, courtesy of his new found heavy artillery: with which he will be looking to extinguish the world title dreams of one of boxing’s brightest young prospects.

Lubin meanwhile, will seek to announce his arrival at boxing’s top table in only his nineteenth pro fight. The Floridian caught the attention of many boxing observers whilst still in his teens, with a series of blistering performances on the now defunct ESPN Friday Night Fights series – having turned pro with Mike Tyson’s 'Iron Mike Promotions' back in 2013. A skilful southpaw with power in both hands, 'The Hammer' has exhibited skills which unquestionably belong in the upper echelons of the sport. That said, there are many within boxing circles who believe that the opportunity has come too early for the twenty-two-year-old, who has yet to go twelve rounds thus far in his promising career. Unsurprisingly, the challenger is not amongst those who subscribe to that particular school of thought.

With both men confident of victory and either capable of ending the fight with a single punch, we can expect fireworks - in a bout which is likely to steal the show from the headline pairing.

Whetting the appetite at around 8pm local time, will be an interesting clash between undefeated IBF belt-holder Jarret Hurt (20-0-0, 14 KO’s) and one time conqueror of Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout (30-3-0, 17 KO’s). The Maryland native will be looking to kick on from his coronation last time out, in which he shared several closely matched rounds with Detroit’s Tony Harrison, before ending the contest in the ninth with a devastating right cross to capture the vacant IBF World Super Welterweight strap. With accuracy, speed and sublime punch variety to boot, 'Swift' is one of vast crop of exciting young fighters in boxing’s stacked 154 pound weight class, who will be clamouring to establish themselves as the divisions kingpin over the coming year.

In Trout, the newly crowned champion will face what is likely to be his toughest challenge to date. Trout is a former world champion of four successful defences, who at the age of thirty two, will be desperate to reclaim his place among the divisions elite. 'No Doubt” is capable of providing a testing nights work for anyone at eleven stone, possessing a tricky southpaw style, against which many have found difficulty in establishing any sort of rhythm: just ask Miguel Cotto.

Whilst many see 'Swift' as a future star within the sport, it must be remembered that Trout will not arrive at the Barclay’s Center on Saturday to make up the numbers. Win or lose the New Mexican will ask questions of the relatively inexperienced Hurd, we shall soon find out if the champion can answer in the affirmative.

With three exciting world title match ups in one night, all involving the same weight class, boxing need’s more shows like Saturday’s Super Welterweight blockbuster. Let us pray that the fights live up to our lofty expectations, so we can look forward to more nights like this in the not too distant future.

Article by Gareth Gonet

You can follow Gareth on Twitter at: @garethgonet
By Behind The Gloves 14 Oct, 2017

Liam Cameron is the new Commonwealth middleweight champion after he took apart cross city rival Sam Sheedy in eight rounds at the Ponds Forge Arena in Sheffield on the first of Free Sports live televised events.

Cameron, who had claimed before the clash that he would retire if he couldn’t get past Sheedy, and the 26-year-old threw everything into his last stand, putting the former champion down five times before it was waved off in the eighth.

With the win, “Cannonball” improved his record to 20-5, while Sheedy slips to 18-3 after an entertaining contest in which Cameron slowly marched down his smaller opponent, unleashing body shots that “Speedy” simply had no answer for.

Sheedy started the first defence of his title well, getting through with the more accurate work, whilst his movement kept him away from Cameron’s swinging shots. However, when Sheedy did go to work, his blows had no effect on the bigger man in Cameron, who walked through everything he threw.

Cameron began to utilise the body shots in the second, which Sheedy was feeling immediately, wincing as they landed. Sheedy tried to fight in bursts, as he desperately sought to move away from the forward matching challenger who stalked him around the ring.

Cameron took the second and then the third, his pressure taking its toll on the champion, before really pressing home his advantage in a one-sided fourth, which saw Sheedy visit the canvas three times and also see a point deducted by referee Phil Edwards for use of his head.

It was a 10-5 round in favour of Cameron, the left hand to the body proving to be too much for Sheedy, who rose in defiance and showing plenty of bravado as he survived the round.

The fifth and sixth were much better for Sheedy, who now was in a world of trouble and way down on the scorecards. Cameron continued to ominously march forward, but “Speedy” gutsily took the fight to the challenger, as he emptied the last of his reserves.

However, Cameron remained composed and patiently awaited his next opportunity, which was handed to him in the seventh, as he sunk in another left to the body, which saw Sheedy’s knee briefly touch down and referee Edwards administer another count.

Cameron decided to take the fight to the champion, putting to rest the thoughts that he would be exhausted and drained at the weight, unloading a barrage of blows which sent Sheedy careening backwards into the ropes, clearly out on his feet and kept standing by them. It was just on the bell, but the referee rightly gave him what was to be his fifth, and final count.

Sheedy went for broke in the eighth, but an uppercut staggered him and Cameron unloaded a flurry of big shots, which Sheedy took flush, negating to pick his hands up and try to defend himself. Edwards stepped in to save the now former champion 40 seconds into the round.

It was the culmination of a tough career for Cameron, who has always done it the hard way and finally got the big night he has always craved. The two have had plenty of back and forth on social media, but it was good to see a show of respect as Sheedy raised his victorious rival’s hands in acknowledgement after the announcement.  

The two shared high a highly entertaining bout which kickstarted Free Sports live coverage of boxing, which will be on a monthly basis.

Article by: Matt Bevan

You can follow Matt on Twitter at: @Matt_Bevan68

By Behind The Gloves 13 Oct, 2017

This week, York Hall plays host to the latest instalment of Matchroom's 'NXT GEN' concept.

Headlining the card is a Featherweight contest between unbeaten Watford prospect Recce 'The Bomber' Bellotti (10-0-0, 9 KO's) and Commonwealth Champion Jason Cunningham (23-3-0), with the Doncaster man's Commonwealth strap on the line.

Tricky southpaw Cunningham represents something of a step up in quality of opponent for the talented Bellotti; with the 28-year-old fighters three losses coming against experienced and quality operators Ross Burkinshaw, Jason Booth and current WBA World Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai.

Power is perhaps the key highlight when comparing the two men. Common opponent Jamie Speight was dispatched of mercilessly in eight one-sided rounds by Bellotti last time out, while Cunningham laboured to a ten-round points victory back in March.

More title action sees Epsom's Charlie Edwards (10-1-0, 4 KO's) square off against unheralded Nicaraguan Pablo Narvaez (8-4-6, 1 KO).

Edwards - who's only loss came at Flyweight when he bravely battled with then IBF boss John Riel Casimero on the Golovkin-Brook undercard - returns to action having captured the British Super Flyweight title in his last outing. Under the tutelage of renowned trainer Adam Booth, Edwards is once again plotting a route back to World title contention, and will be hoping for no slip-ups against the unknown Narvaez.

Hard-hitting Super Welterweight prospect Ted Cheeseman (10-0-0, 7 KO's) gets another opportunity to sharpen his skills, facing Panama 's Aristides Quintero (20-9-1, 17 KO's) in an eight round bout. Quintero has lost his last four, including two inside the distance, and is expected to offer little in the way of resistance for the unbeaten Tony Sims-trained prodigy.

Also featured is Liverpool's Natasha Jonas (2-0-0, 2 KO's) who faces off with Lithuanian Ana Starovoitova (3-0-0, 1 KO). Jonas will be looking to continue her march towards a possible showdown and rematch with Irish sensation Katie Taylor, while also paying close attention will be Northampton's Chantelle Cameron: who is also no doubt eager to get a big domestic fight with either Taylor or Jonas.

Matchroom's forgotten man Issac Chamberlain (8-0-0, 3 KO's) gets fellow Londonder, Ossie Jervier (4-4-0, 4 KO's) in their eight round Cruiserweight contest.

Both fighters have shared 10 rounds with Wadi Camacho for the Southern Area Cruiserweight Title.

Chamberlain famously took a brave points victory despite dislocating a shoulder early on in the contest with Camacho, while Jervier was beaten on points last time out against the Canning Town slugger.

Chamberlain has been on his travels lately, getting in world-class sparring with the likes of WBO Crusierweight boss Oleksandr Usyk and Cuban Mike Perez.

Expect the south Londoner, Chamberlain, to take the victory, as he moves ahead towards a possible bout with new Commonwealth Champion Luke Watkins. Chamberlain was a keen observer as Watkins claimed the title with a stoppage win against Robin Dupree this past weekend, and has already expressed his desire to face the new champion in the near future..

Making up the bill, Crystal Palace Super Middleweight Craig 'Spider' Richards (9-0-0, 3 KO's) faces Hungarian  road warrior Istvan Zeller (38-18-0, 12 KO's), William Webber (1-0-0, 0 KO's) meets debutant Eric Israel and Harlem Eubank (1-0-0, 1 KO's) is also scheduled for four.

Article by: Jaime Ingleby

You can follow Jaime on Twitter at: @jaime_ingleby79

By Behind The Gloves 12 Oct, 2017
BROOKLYN (October 12, 2017)  - Top heavyweight title contender Dominic Breazeale will take on Eric Molina in a 12-round WBC title elimination match on the undercard of the showdown between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, Nov. 4. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The stacked card will also feature former welterweight champion Shawn Porter taking on Adrian Granados and Sergey Lipinets battling Akihiro Kondo for the vacant junior welterweight title in televised bouts. The live three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Plus, five-time world champion Amanda Serrano of Brooklyn takes on Marilyn Hernandez, Long Island's Seanie Monaghan (28-1-0, 17 KOs) makes his ring return to face Evert Bravo (23-6-1, 17 KOs), from Arboletes, Colombia, and Brooklyn's Chris Colbert (6-0, 2 KOs) battles Long Island's Titus Williams (7-0, 2 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout.
New prices have been set for tickets to see the event live at Barclays Center, giving fans an unprecedented opportunity to see the heavyweight champion of the world in a rematch against the only contender who has taken him a full 12 rounds.  
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com , barclayscenter.com  or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
"We've recognized that Deontay's opponent has changed, and we've restructured ticket prices to encourage as many fans as possible to attend a great night of fights, and the Heavyweight Championship of the world,'' said Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, the promoter of the card. "Stiverne is thrilled for this second chance and he has nothing to lose. Bermane Stiverne is the only opponent that Deontay hasn't knocked out among his professional opponents. Deontay wants to fix that and Stiverne is looking to throw a wrench into Wilder's dream of heavyweight unification.''
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) dethroned defending champion Stiverne in January 2015 via unanimous decision in what was the promising challenger's toughest fight to date. With the win, Wilder became the first American heavyweight champion in nearly a decade and he has gone on to defend the title five times. Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) remains the only Wilder opponent to go the distance with the hard-hitting Tuscaloosa, Ala., native who has knocked out every other professional opponent on his long resume.  
Dominic Breazeale (18-1, 16 KOs), who lives in Eastvale, California, is coming off a KO victory over Izu Ugonoh on Feb. 25. The 32-year-old Breazeale suffered the only loss of career in a heavyweight championship match against Anthony Joshua in London on June 25, 2016.
Eric Molina (26-4, 19 KOs) has twice fought for the heavyweight world championship. In his first title shot the 35-year-old from Weslaco, Texas was knocked out by Deontay Wilder on June 13, 2015. Molina lost via TKO to Anthony Joshua in his next opportunity on Dec. 10, 2016. Molina bounced back with a majority decision victory against Jamal Woods in his last fight on Sept. 2.
Five-division world champion Amanda Serrano (33-1-1, 25 KOs) will be making her fourth appearance at Barclays Center when she defends her super bantamweight world title against Marilyn Hernandez (26-10, 17 KOs). Serrano, who was born in Puerto Rico and lives in Brooklyn, successfully defended her title with a TKO victory over Edina Kiss in her last fight on July 21. Hernandez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic scored a TKO victory over Maria Hernandez in her last fight on Jan. 10.
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