Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder gets title shot against Bermane Stiverne

December 14, 2014

For all those who wanted to see Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) in the ring against an elite heavyweight, the wait is officially over, as Wilder will face WBC Heavyweight Champion Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) on Saturday, January 17, 2015, at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Wilder has drawn a lot of attention recently because of his impressive ratio of 32 knockouts in 32 fights.  What has been less impressive for the former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has been the quality of his opposition.

Nevertheless, in today's barren heavyweight landscape where fans are desperately looking for that one fighter who can give Wladimir Klitschko a run for his money, Wilder's power has drawn some interest.

The Haitian-born and hard-hitting Stiverne is undoubtedly Wilder's greatest test.  Stiverne has two big wins over a respected heavyweight in Chris Arreola, with the latter victory giving Stiverne the vacant WBC belt (after champion Vitali Klitschko left the sport to begin his political career).

Even more interesting is the fact that neither man likes the other.

"I'm expecting a short night because we have bad blood," Wilder said. "I really want to hurt this guy, and I haven't felt this way in a long time. I want to show him this is no joke, this is real. This is business. This is the hurt game and my power is real. I told him that I'll whoop his ass and I'm going to keep my promise."

If triumphant, Wilder will become the first United States-born heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs, who captured the WBO title in November 2006 and lost the crown in his first defense.

"Now I can make all my dreams come true, I can make it a reality," Wilder said. "America is yearning for a heavyweight world champion. We haven't had a real one since the days of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Everyone just sits back and remembers the glory days. America has been waiting for their champion and I've arrived."

Stiverne, will be making his first defense of the WBC title, had a different viewpoint, to say the least.

"Don't blink on Jan. 17. I am the heavyweight champion of the world and nobody is going to beat me," Stiverne said. "I'm excited and I'm looking forward to making a statement. Talk is cheap. I do my talking in the ring."

Since suffering his lone loss in July 2007, the talented 6-foot-2 Stiverne, 36, has emerged as one of the world's most feared and destructive heavyweights. He is 12-0-1 in his last 13 starts, 10 of the victories coming inside the distance. Of his 21 knockouts, 18 came inside three rounds, 14 of them in the initial three minutes.

"I'm all business," Stiverne said. "The only time he's going to get my attention is the night of the fight. I promise you, he will get more than he bargained for and more than he's expecting."

The 6-foot-7 Wilder, 29, hasn't come close to putting in a full night's work. He has gone four full rounds just one time since turning pro in November 2008. The virtually untested slugger has fought a total of 58 rounds, an average of 1.8 rounds per outing. He's registered 18 knockouts in the first round, eight in the second.

Two fights ago, in what was expected to be his most demanding assignment, Wilder blasted Malik Scott in 96 seconds. Wilder is coming off a fourth-round technical knockout over Jason Gavern in August 2013.

"I can't help that I always knock my guys out," Wilder said. "It's not my fault I make it look easy. When I knock Stiverne out I don't want to hear any whispers; I don't want to hear people say that he was a bum. I want the world to bow down and praise the heavyweight champion of the world. They have to finally admit that I'm just that good."

The event is co-promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions and also will feature undefeated IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) defending his belt against a challenger to be announced.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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