WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder returns to action on February 25th, 2017 in his home state of Alabama.
The Bronze Bomber spent the second half of 2016 on the shelf after he suffered hand and biceps injury during his dominant victory over Chris Arreola in July of 2016. With his injuries fully healed, Wilder faces unbeaten challenger Gerald Washington at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Another Replacement Opponent
Washington is the second consecutive replacement opponent that Wilder will be facing. Last July, Chris Arreola stepped in after Wilder’s original opponent Alexander Povetkin was pulled from the bout for testing positive for a banned substance.
Wilder’s original opponent for February 25th also failed a similar drug test. Andrzej Wawrzyk tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol in two random drug tests administered by VADA in January hence he was stripped of his opportunity to fight Wilder.
Washington fought in the undercard of Wilder-Arreola and recorded a fourth round knockout of former title challenger Ray Austin. The US Navy veteran has a professional record of 18-0-1 with 12 KOs. The bout marks the first title fight for Washington and the fifth title defense for Wilder. It will be Washington’s second fight in Alabama while it will be the 9th bout for Wilder in his home state.
A Massive Favorite
Wilder is a massive favorite over Washington at -1400. The challenger is pegged at +700.
Like Wilder, Washington took up the sport at a late age. He made his pro debut in 2012 but is already 34 years old. Washington is perhaps one of the heavyweight who matches Wilder’s size. He’s 6-6 and has a reach of 82’ inches. On the other hand, the champion is slightly taller at 6-7 and longer at 83’. But given Washington’s length and punching power, he can be very dangerous is he’s able to land cleanly on Wilder.
But Washington is slower and has less technique than Wilder. He’s more of a free swinger who doesn’t have much defense. He bullies his opponents with his aggression and relies solely on his powerful right hand. Similarly, Wilder is a work in progress but he is far advanced in terms of skill and technique. Along with Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder is perceived to be the future of the heavyweight division. This should be a shootout and we expect Wilder to win by early knockout.