In the first big test of his career, Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs) passed with flying colors as he jabbed and boxed his way to a unanimous decision win over Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs) to win the WBC Heavyweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 12-round fight, which was televised by Showtime Sports in the U.S., was the main event of a card jointly promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions.
There were many questions concerning Wilder and his extraordinarily high knockout ratio. His ability to take a punch and to fight a top-level opponent were called into question by a record filled with lower-level opponents.
Tonight, however, the 27-year-old native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama showed that he can box at a high level and take a few punches as he easily outboxed Stiverne in nearly every round.
“I think I answered a lot of questions tonight,” said Wilder, before stating that he knew he had what it took to be champion and that the hard work was done in camp.
Stiverne, 36, of Haiti, simply could not close the distance as he pushed forward with a high guard and refused to throw the jab.
“I felt 100% before the fight, but once I got in the ring, I couldn’t cut the ring, I couldn’t move my head like when I was sparring like I usually do,” said Stiverne.
Nevertheless, Wilder’s jab is what controlled the fight and Stiverne could not deal with it and the distance it created.
According to Showtime’s boxing statistics, Wilder landed 129 out of 420 jabs thrown, while Stiverne landed 38 out of 139 jabs thrown. Both needed to use the jab in their respective game plans, but Wilder actually executed it.
The judges scored the fight 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107 for the new Heavyweight champion.
“I want to bring excitement back to the Heavyweight division. I don’t want to be a champion that sits around for a year or two. I want to at least–if I’m lucky–fight four times a year,” concluded Wilder.
A possible fight with lineal Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko may be in Wilder’s future, but we will have to see what happens next.