By Peter Wells
DEONTAY WILDER BEATS STIVERNE
With the most unlikely of outcomes, the World Heavyweight title has returned to the United States of America. Deontay Wilder was the hero, and he did so by going the distance in a fight for the first time in his career – if you predicted that result then give yourself a pat on the back.
Whether the enigmatic Alabama fighter is going to make waves or not is yet to be found out. Do we indeed have a new Heavyweight sensation on our hands or just another paper champion who can’t quite break the Wladimir Klitschko voodoo on the Heavyweight division.
Whatever one’s opinion, Wilder 33-0(32) answered many questions last night in dominating the champion Bermane Stiverne 24-2-1(21). He proved he had the stamina to go the distance at a relatively good pace – even if Stiverne could have pushed Wilder harder. Deontay also showed his mettle, when caught flush on a few occasions he took his licks well against a big hitting Heavyweight.
Wilder’s jab was the key throughout the contest, the sickening shot was planted through much of the night on the forehead on Stiverne’s which took it’s fair share of damage as the head movement i believed would be key to him standing a chance in their with Wilder was absent.
Wilder was wild at times, especially in the early rounds when he felt the legs give slightly for Stiverne, but the American seemed to calm down in the second half of the fight, especially after the 7th round where he went to work on the Haitian-Canadian, only to see his foe still standing and still jawing.
Wilder was in command in the first few rounds, in both the first and the second he seemed to have Stiverne in momentary trouble, but attempting the jump on the shorter Stiverne was not the wisest idea when keeping this long would have been better suited to Wilder in the early exchanges.
Stiverne’s footwork was slow and ponderous, but for a brief period in the middle rounds the began to cut the ring off well. Wilder was yet to get on his toes, and this allowed Stiverne to get himself into range.
This tactics would prove vital as the footwork would come in handy later in the fight, which forced Stiverne to follow him around the ring, walking onto several more jabs than his corner would have liked to him to have been taking.
Round 6 was the best round for Stiverne as he forced Wilder to take some punishment while sliding back on the ropes. It seemed that momentum may have been changing but Wilder answered with his best round of the fight in the 7th. Stiverne was wobbled badly with a straight right cross that split the guard. Wilder followed up and pounded Stiverne with all he could muster, but Stiverne’s incredible chin stood up. This seemed to be the telling moment when Wilder realised he was in for the long haul.
Stiverne had a better 8th round, but it was clear that Wilder was happy to go the distance, and so he did as he seemed more that comfortable going the distance, while Stiverne who was tiring from all the punches he had taken was unable now to close the distance.
The final scores read 118-109, 119-108 120-107 all for the new WBC Heavyweight champion of the world, Deontay Wilder. Now thats a headline Wilder with never forget.
SANTA CRUZ VS RUIZ
On the undercard Leo Santa Cruz 29-0-1(17) called out Guillermo Rigondeaux after his 8th round stoppage of tough and game Jesus Ruiz 33-6-5(22).
In an enjoyable contest, Santa Cruz was pushed hard by Ruiz who was eventually stopped on his feet by Kenny Bayless after he was shaken and on the receiving end of a barrage of punches.
IMAM VS MALDONADO JR
Amir Imam 16-0(14) rose from the deck to stop Fidel Maldonado Jr 19-3(16) in the 5th round of a hard hitting contest.
The two shared 5 knockdowns, with Maldonado going down on 4 occasions. The first came in the 2nd right on the bell, which left Maldonado badly shaken. He came out in the 3rd with vengeance and scored a hard knockdown.
Imam downed Maldonado twice more to end the round before a 4th knockdown finished the contest in the 5th.
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