For the first time in over 30 years, a Heavyweight Championship fight was televised on network television. NBC and Premier Boxing Champions broadcasted the fight between the WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Frenchman Johann Duhaupas. It was seen as an easy fight for Wilder, and boy did he make it look that way. Wilder cruised to an 11th round TKO, connecting on more than three times as many punches as Duhaupas.
From the start, Wilder looked far superior. He established his jab early and kept the shorter Duhaupas at range where he could pick him apart. Being 6 foot 7, Wilder had the reach to control the fight from distance.
The stats on the fight tell the story. Wilder connected on 326 of 587 punches thrown, while Duhaupas connected on just 98 of 332 punches thrown.
Wilder ran away with the fight after the 5th round. Wilder connected with a series of combinations in the round that looked to hurt Duhaupas, and it was all down hill for the Frenchman from there. Wilder had no respect for Duahupas’s power and started fighting in close. Wilder started connecting with close range uppercuts that wore down Duhaupas.
Finally in the 11th, after rounds of delivering loads of punishment, Wilder secured the victory with a TKO. Duahupas did not go down, but the referee was forced to stop the fight when Wilder connected with at least a dozen straight power shots in a row to the head.
While some will criticize Wilder for not winning the fight until the 11th round against a much lesser opponent, it was not on him. Duahupas just refused to go down. Wilder couldn’t have physically delivered more punishment to force him to go down. It just wasn’t going to happen.
Deontay Wilder’s stardom is rising in the U.S. This year he became the first American Heavyweight champion since Shannon Biggs in 2006. At just 29, he has many years left to make a great career for himself.
Now we must ask though, what is next? Wilder has a mandatory title defense against Alexander Povetkin that he must schedule at some point. Early speculation suggests that could be his next fight. Povetkin is the 2nd ranked Heavyweight boxer in the world behind Wladimir Klitschko, according to ESPN. The Russian 36 year old has just one career loss, which came at the hands of Klitschko back in 2013. He would be the best competition Wilder has ever faced by far. The only other top 10 fighter Wilder has faced was Bermaine Stiverne when he won the WBC title by unanimous decision. Stiverne is ranked 6th by ESPN. Wilder can dish punishment as much as anyone in the world, but can he take it from a guy like Povetkin? One other interesting question is where the fight will be. Povetkin has never fought outside Europe and Wilder has never fought outside North America. With Wilder being the champ, it seems likely the fight would be in the U.S., but Russia is still a possibility.
Thinking bigger picture, Wilder is on track to fight Wladamir Klitschko at some point soon. When asked in tonights post fight press conference, Wilder mentioned the end of next year as a possibility. Wilder will fight Povetkin almost surely before that, and Klitschko’s next fight is against 3rd ranked and undefeated Tyson Fury. Both fights will be toss ups, which is what you get when the best four heavyweights in the world are fighting each other. No matter the results, Wilder v. Klitschko is something fans want and promoters want. Klitschko is maybe the only heavyweight name a non boxing fan has heard of. Having him fight in the U.S. is good for the sport, and Wilder could entice him to come over. Klitschko’s last fight was at Madison Square Garden, but other than that fight, all of his fights have been in Europe since 2008. This makes heavyweight boxing completely foreign, and thus uninteresting to Americans. With Wilder’s ascension and Klitschko’s stardom, it could break all sorts of records for a Heavyweight fight.
On the actual boxing end of a matchup versus Klitschko, Wilder needs to improve his defense before that fight. He still tends to get in close and trade blows with fighters with a shorter reach than he does. Wilder needs to do better at picking and choosing his shots, while maintaining the aggression that makes him elite. Klitschko is still a much smarter fighter than Wilder, so there’s some work to do for the young American. A fight vs. Povetkin will be a perfect test on whether he can fight and beat Klitschko.