Say what you want about Deontay Wilder, but he just keeps doing it.
"It" being knocking people out and winning.
Saturday night, the reigning WBC Champion stopped challenger Chris Arreola in the 8th round via TKO after Arreola's corner stopped the fight. Wilder controlled the fight, finally recognizing his length and unleashing devastating jabs the entire night, rocking Arreola's neck to the point where the challenger appeared to be doing the "wop" in reverse. Boxing fans had been waiting for the Champ to finally utilize his jab and tonight, in front of his hometown crowd in Alabama, Wilder did just that. But little did we know that the reason why he was using it so much was because he had injured his right arm, actually suffering a broken right hand and a torn right biceps.
Wilder's injuries suffered in victory showed fans another dimension in his arsenal. Everyone knew he had devastating power, backed up by his record of 36 KOs in 37 fights. But now we saw that Wilder could fight through pain AND, more importantly, that he possessed a devastating jab. With a reach of over 80 inches, fans wondered why he never used it as much as he should have. We watched him in his fight against Artur Szpilka, frustrated that he was letting Szpilka get in too close and enabling the fight to go on for nine rounds before knocking the challenger out cold with a devastating right hook. If he had used his jab earlier in the fight, it would definitely have been an early night for Szpilka and his fans. So going into tonight we wondered whether Wilder the power puncher or Wilder the boxer would show up. Thanks to an injured right arm, we got to witness how damn good Wilder the boxer can really be, unsheathing a deadly "GGG" like jab upon the helpless Arreola.
Said Wilder after the fight "I got one of the best jabs in the world, because I have super trainers. I got Mark Breland, who showed me all kinds of ways to throw my jab. I got Russ Ambers who shows me techniques. I have Jay my long-time trainer on everything, and of course I have Cuz Hill who gives me great work on the mitts."
During the post-fight interview on Fox, you could see how painful the injury was, Wilder wincing and retreating when his corner attempted to take the glove off of his right hand. But impressively, Wilder hid his injury and battled through it to earn another knockout and push his record to 37-0 with the aforementioned 36 KOs. As he was taken to UAB hospital immediately after the fight, missing the post-fight conference, his praises were sung.
"It showed me he's a real champion," promoter Lou DiBella said of Wilder. "He was hurt, and I thought he fought well under the circumstances. He tried to entertain, and he tried to hide the injury. But when I saw the biceps I could see it did not look good. And his hand also. It hurt to take of the gloves and he couldn't even put his shirt on."
So what's next for the WBC Champ? We saw the potential of Anthony Joshua a few weeks ago, as he destroyed Dominic Breazeale en route to a seventh round stoppage in defense of his IBF Heavyweight title. We already know about Tyson Fury, who, almost hilariously, climbed into the ring WWE style after Wilder knocked out Szpilka to get in his face and challenge Wilder, who did not back down or mince words.
“We all know Fury is just a phony,” Wilder said. “This is just an act. I’m not scared of anybody. We’ll come to your backyard. This is just an act – you’re not a real fighter. I don’t play. This isn’t wrestling. When you do step in that ring with me I promise you I will baptize you."
We know what boxing means to Wilder. We saw it first hand when we featured him in "Driven- Deontay Wilder" last year. We understand why he boxes- for his family and because he loves it. As he said, he doesn't play, and he doesn't play boxing. He's there to win and win by "baptism" and Wilder is quickly climbing the pound for pound rankings while earning more respect after each victory. Now the former Olympic bronze medalist has the unique opportunity to not just unify the belts; he can also bring excitement, and the championships, back to the US Heavyweight division. It's no coincidence that he donned the Muhammad Ali emblazoned Everlast fight gear tonight, demonstrating his desire to be The Greatest.
"My goal is to unify the (heavyweight) division," Wilder said in the ring on Fox. "I'm one of the baddest, hardest-hitting heavyweights in the business. Right here from Alabama, baby. I came a long way. So whoever's got those belts, that's who I want."
So while he wants to enter the ring against Joshua and Fury and unify the titles, the question he posed was a simple one:
"I don't play boxing. Of course I want the Furys, of course I want the Joshuas. The question is: Do they want me??" - @BronzeBomber— PBC (@premierboxing) July 17, 2016
The flight of Deontay Wilder and his BomZquad continues. Next stop? Maybe the UK; but no matter where he ends up, we can promise you that he will be ready. Will they?