Deontay Wilder is undefeated and making a lot of noise in the heavyweight boxing ranks. For one, Wilder has beaten every opponent by knockout. Siarhei Liakhovich was the latest victim, dropped with 1:43 left in the opening round Friday night. For two, he’s witty. After the victory, Wilder was asked about his knockouts. His response? “I don’t like to stick around because I’m not getting paid for overtime.” He went on to tell The Desert Sun that he expected a more difficult fight from Liakhovich, who has held several belts in the past. For three, he’s experienced. Wilder won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. According to ESPN, he is the last American to medal in that sport.
The fighter and his camp readily acknowledge that the competition Wilder has faced hasn’t been exactly elite. But the Birmingham, AL native has managed to impress one major figure in the heavyweight boxing world: Wladimir Klitschko. WIlder has sparred over 50 rounds with Klitschko, and is a preferred sparring partner of the the champ. The undefeated Wilder has also been in camps with several other veteran fighters. Klitschko told ESPN that he was impressed by Wilder’s knockout percentage as well as the athleticism and energy he showed in the ring.
Wilder feels like he is positioning himself for a title bid. “I feel I’m six, eight months away, but definitely next year.”he says of his prospects. He feels his management team is strong enough to get him to a big fight in 2014. Wilder also wants to take his undefeated record up against his sparring partner and current champ. Or his brother, Vitali Klitschko, who also holds a heavyweight title belt. “I want a Klitschko. I don’t want to fight for a vacant belt and wait for them to retire.” Wilder is definitely angling for his opportunity.
It seems that the little men have dominated boxing headlines of late. Can a heavyweight capture American sports headlines again?