Heavyweight boxing has gained some ground in the past 24 months. When the Klitschko monopoly was broken up, due in equal parts to age and Tyson Fury, the door was open for several new stars to emerge. One of those was Anthony Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist who, instead of Fury, grabbed hold of the spotlight by winning a dramatic victory over Wladimir in front of over 90,000 at Wembley Stadium.
Across the pond, the other has been Deontay Wilder. A bronze medalist at the Beijing games in 2008, he won the WBC heavyweight title from Bermane Stiverne in 2015, but has faced a litany of problems in terms of reliable opposition. Russian Alexander Povetkin, an Olympic gold medalist himself, failed a test for a banned substance in the week leading up to a massive bout with Wilder, and the American was awarded $7 million in court as a result. After recovering from injuries from his next defense that followed, Wilder was set to take on former heavyweight champion Andrzej Wawrzyk, but he also failed a drug test. Wilder destroyed the late replacement by TKO in the fifth round back in February.
After Stiverne agreed to a step-aside fee that allowed for a fight scheduled with undefeated contender Luis Ortiz scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ortiz became the latest opponent to drop out, failing a drug test for a substance that can be used to mask other PEDs. Stiverne was again ordered as the replacement, and last night the two met.
The violent delights had violent ends.
As you can see, Wilder plowed through the 39-year-old Stiverne with minimal effort in the opening round, with the best compliment being that Wilder credited him for being a clean fighter afterwards.
He then went on to call out Joshua, laying out a challenge for the Brit.
A classic between Joshua and Wilder would be the biggest thing heavyweight boxing has witnessed in some time. Americans haven’t had a true superstar at the weight since the days of Tyson and Holyfield, but Wilder, 32, could wildly expand his audience and capture the mainstream with a meeting against Joshua.
Let’s hope it happens and the tests come back negative.