Deontay Wilder stops Bermane Stiverne, sets up showdown with Anthony Joshua

November 5, 2017

After a lengthy nine-month layoff, undefeated heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder showed no ring rust and proved that he still has the fire to compete, as he retained his WBC title with a dominant first-round knockout of mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne on Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s) knocked Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) to the ground three times before referee Arthur Mercante halted the bout at 2:59 of the opening round. Wilder then made his future plans known immediately, setting his sights on British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

“A king doesn’t chase the peasants," said Wilder.  "A king takes kings. I want Joshua. If he doesn’t give me the fight we have other plans. The world wants Joshua, the world wants Wilder, I want Joshua. Joshua come and see me baby. No more dodging, no more excuses. Make the date, don’t wait.”

Wilder had not been in the ring for some time, as he was recovering from various hand and bicep injuries.  He also had bouts cancelled due to his opponents' positive tests for banned substances.

“So much frustration, it just seemed like my career, it’s been crazy . . . so many guys using PED’s,” said Wilder. “I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am the best, but I want to prove I am the best.”

Wilder first knocked Stiverne to the ground with a devastating one-two combination that caught the Haitian challenger on the nose. Seconds after Stiverne got back to his feet, Wilder landed another clean combination with a big left and an overhand right that sent a stunned Stiverne back to the canvas. The final blow came in the waning moments of the opening round as Wilder landed four clean punches to the face of a wobbly Stiverne.

“You have to give props to Stiverne for getting in the ring,” said Wilder. “It takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of pride to step in the ring with someone like me. We do what we have to do in the ring and at least he stepped up. He was a clean fighter.”

After the brutal knockout, an emotional Wilder called for a unification bout with Joshua.

“I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now,” said Wilder. “I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?"

In the undercard, former welterweight world champion Shawn Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) defeated Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 11 KOs) via unanimous decision (scored 117-111 by all three judges) in an exciting fight between two all-action competitors.

"The strategy was to keep working the jab," said Porter.  "I knew he'd come at me periodically. I was prepared and dug deep to get the win.”

The victory made Porter the mandatory title challenger for unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman’s WBC belt.

Porter, who injured his left hand in the sixth round, landed 40 percent of his power punches and 36 percent of his total punches. Both fighters came out aggressive in the early rounds and exchanged several powerful blows.

"He gave me a little trouble here and there,” said Porter. “I hurt my left hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it. I had to use my jab. It took a toll on me and by the 10th round I just couldn't throw it anymore.

Granados, of Cicero, Illinois, fought valiantly and withstood multiple barrages from the powerful Porter while countering with several quick combinations of his own.

"I thought that I was controlling the fight and keeping up with him the whole time,” Granados said. “He was just trying to use his normal tricks. I rocked him multiple times and he never had me in any trouble."

Granados, who landed just 24 percent of his total punches, disagreed with the judges’ scorecard.

"He's a brute," said Granados.  "I thought the referee did a good job breaking up the fight at the right times. It was rough, but I definitely thought I did better than the scorecards said."

In another undercard bout, unbeaten top contender Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) earned the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Japanese veteran Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs).

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111.

The back-and-forth 12-round world championship fight saw Lipinets control the early rounds with a diversified, creative attack targeting Kondo’s body.

An accidental clash of heads in the sixth round, which opened up a deep cut on the forehead of Lipinets, altered the momentum of the fight as Kondo gained confidence and was able to land some powerful punches to the head and body of Lipinets.

"I made up my mind that I wasn't going to show any pain or fear from his punches," said Kondo.  "I was determined to keep fighting all night.”

The 28-year old Lipinets, who earned the title in just his 13th professional fight, was able to regain control in the later rounds to earn the unanimous win.

"I think the scorecards were accurate, but it was a good fight,” said Lipinets. “The head-butt really impaired my vision and it led to me walking into some stupid shots.

Kondo, who was fighting for the first time in the United States, proved a worthy opponent on the night.

"It was a fair decision,” said Kondo, “He hit me with a lot of hard punches and I felt like I needed at least a knockdown in the last round.

By Staff of and news services

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