WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title for the second time against Frenchman Johann Duhaupas on September 26th at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Last and First
As the last male American boxer to win a medal in the Summer Olympics, 2008 Beijing games bronze medalist Deontay Wilder is the first American boxing heavyweight champion in nearly a decade, winning the WBC heavyweight title last January 17 to become the first American heavyweight boxing champion since Shannon Briggs in 2007. Wilder defeated then defending champion Bermane Stiverne of Canada in a masterful 12 round boxing display. The victory not only earned him a piece of boxing’s most precious jewels, but it also proved a lot of his detractors wrong.
The Bronze Bomber
Known for his vicious punching power more than anything else, the undefeated Wilder has a 97% KO ratio which includes 18 first round KOs and only one fight going the distance. That fight happened to be the January title bout with Stiverne but while it was the only “blemish” in what would otherwise be a perfect KO record, it was also Wilder’s finest moment as a professional. There were no knockdowns scored and that came as a surprise. But what was more surprising was the fact that the now 34-0 (33 KOs) Wilder had never fought more than 4 rounds prior to that bout yet he outboxed the erstwhile champion for 12 full rounds. Wilder won via scores of 120-107, 119-108 and 119-108 to prove that he is no one trick pony.
His Glory Road
Wilder’s rise from an inexperienced Olympian who was the only male American boxer to medal in 2008 was inspired by his daughter who suffers from a spinal disorder. From working as a waiter and hoping to play for his Alabama Crimson Tide football team, Wilder dropped out of school and took on boxing to help his daughter’s medical bills. Ultimately, the desire to succeed to earn money has turned into a glory road that has led to boxing’s Heavyweight title. Despite the success, Wilder hasn’t been short of detractors.
Wilder’s inexperience and his lack of quality foe has been his critics main guns. Even after winning the heavyweight title, Wilder’s choice of Eric Molina in his first title defense was criticized. His choice of Johann Duhaupas in his next defense makes it a double whammy. Duhaupas is a former French Heavyweight champion and former EBU-EU Heavyweight champion but he is ranked just #12 by the WBC. The 32 year old challenger has a 32-2 record with 20 KOs and looks formidable but going through his resume, Duhaupas hasn’t fought a significant name and has lost to Francesco Pianeta and Erkan Teper which won’t get you excited at all.
Who Takes This?
Wilder’s drawback is more of his inexperience rather than weakness. Having picked up the sport at a late age primarily to support his daughter, Wilder doesn’t have enough rounds to be called an experienced fighter. But that’s also more because he has a powerful right hand more than anything else. Duhaupas has never been knocked out and while he gives up 2 inches in height, he will be heftier at around 20 pounds heavier than Wilder. But Wilder is the prototype of the future heavyweight: tall, long, fast, agile and powerful- much like fellow Olympian and Briton prospect Anthony Joshua. Duhaupas doesn’t have the physical skills to match up and should be overwhelmed in the middle rounds. The odds have placed Wilder at -2500 and he may be headed to another KO win.