WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title against fellow American Gerald Washington at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday and with all the attention currently on the up and coming clash at Wembley between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, the WBC Champion will be looking to make a statement. Betsafe get in the ring again with the world’s most credible opinion in the sport Boxing News to deliver you all you need to know about the title clash. Read what the experts think and pick the winner with Betsafe.
The Rise of Wilder
FOR a fighter who’s supposedly had it easy, Deontay Wilder has been making hard work of staying at the top of the heavyweight division. The WBC champion has an impressive looking record, 37 victories, 36 of them coming inside the distance. And yet, outside of his world title winning effort against Bermane Stiverne, he still needs a defining win. Gerald Washington is not his super-fight, but if Wilder fails now, he will never get one.
Since winning his world title, Wilder has trodden water. He’s had four defences against low key opposition, halting Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola. The most memorable moment of his recent run has been a shuddering knockout against Artur Szpilka. That obscures the fact the Szpilka had been giving Deontay problems ahead of that. Indeed it hadn’t been easy for Wilder to get to grips with Molina. He overwhelmed Arreola with his power and aggression but it was a hectic effort, over-enthusiasm making it a more inefficient display than expected.
This is not all Wilder’s fault. He has been plagued by injury, badly damaging his hand and bicep even as he beat Arreola. It showed admirable grit for him to battle through the pain and being inhibited without the use of one arm.
More damaging to his career, Wilder has seen fights fall through, due to scheduled opponents being uncovered as drug cheats. Wilder was due a major fight with Alexander Povetkin in Russia. Povetkin tested postive for a prohibited substance and the fight was quite rightly pulled, even though it denied Deontay one of his potential defining moments.
Washington wasn’t even the first choice for this defence in his home state. Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk on this date, only for his opponent to again fail a drug test. Gerald Washington therefore stepped into the breach, but this is in fact a more appealing fight.
What they say
‘I go for the knockouts. At this point in time in my career I am very relaxed now. Earlier when I first came out of course I was wild. You know my last time is Wilder. I was wild. But now as I started getting experience and bigger fights. I kind of have slowed down and just relaxed and wait on the opening and stuff like that.
‘Deontay Wilder don’t play games. Deontay Wilder comes to destroy the man that is in front of him.
‘When I get in the ring I am the Bronze Bomber. And the Bronze Bomber, he is a different person. I am glad I am so happy that I can change between the Bronze Bomber and Deontay Wilder. Some people can’t.
‘If Bronze Bomber got loose in the streets it won’t be something nice. When I am in the ring all I think about is knocking my opponent’s head off. Getting him out of there. Hurting him. Putting pain to him. I will have no mercy. I will have no pity.
‘Until I knock him out or do what I got to do that’s when I feel sympathy for my fighters because, I know they have a family. I know there is somebody’s son or sometimes be the father. I understand that. I am a family person as well too.
‘But they are in front of me on their feet it is a different story. I am always mentally strong over all these fighters. I really feel that I can’t be beat. That is just the mentality I have.’
‘I know Deontay Wilder. We all know what he brings to the table. He is big, strong, knockouts. We fighting in his backyard. We know all that.
‘Well, we can’t get caught up in that. That is going to be there. That is going to be there and we just got to focus on us. Focus on our game. Make sure we are tight, physically and mentally. And we prepare for this moment.
‘That is all that matters to me. Only had a month’s time to prepare and but I am ready to go. I have learned the lessons in the gym and I had hard lessons. But you need those hard lessons when you are growing as a fighter.
‘You have got to go through that stuff to understand what is going on because you get in there and you have got a full sense of what is going on. Reality checks. This sport will teach you a lesson when you need it.
‘So everything that was supposed to happen. I am glad for the lessons. I am glad for all the great talent and meeting my trainer John Pullman. We having fun and we are learning. It is not always going to go the way you want it to go and we learn from that and we get better.’
Gerald Washington is a big, athletic man like Wilder and like Wilder he converted to boxing from another sport, American football in Washington’s case, basketball for Wilder. But Washington is not as developed as a boxer. He’s only been fighting professionally since 2012, whereas Wilder turned pro in 2008, after competing in the Olympic Games of that year. Gerald has had fewer contests, he is currently 18-0-1 (12).
While Wilder is not the slickest of operators, Washington’s raw quality is certainly apparent. His hands tend to drift low, which will be risky against a heavy puncher like the WBC champion. He pushes his jab out to keep his range but his left is not as sophisticated a weapon as Wilder’s. The champion’s jab is good and he can establish it over Washington’s. Gerald too can leave himself out of position when he throws his right. If Wilder can keep him under sustained pressure, he can break through his defences, especially if Washington finds his feet getting caught beneath him as he backs off, trapping him in place. Wilder is expected to be able to grind out another inside the distance victory.
About George Gigney
George Gigney is the reporter of Boxing News, the oldest boxing publication in the world. Established in 1909, Boxing News’ reputation as the market authority comes from over 100 years of experience in the hardest game.