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Bombs away for Wilder? Time to step up for the Bronze Bomber

October 28, 2013

News

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Nicolai Firtha became the latest victim of the Deontay Wilder’s wrecking ball this weekend with a fourth round stoppage which, as seems to be standard for the Alabaman heavyweight, left more questions than answers.

The Heavy Bag has already discussed the latest wave of heavyweights and Wilder’s controversial rise through the ranks –  ( http://heavy-bag.com/2013/08/20/heavyweight-revival-or-another-false-dawn/ ) and Saturday night didn’t really advance the issue much further. Although Firtha is a tough customer who by all accounts trains hard and seriously, the part time golf caddy looked doughy and gave away significant height and reach advantages to the US Olympian who had Firtha on the canvas multiple times before the inevitable stoppage. Firtha was game and even tried to bring the fight to Wilder, but Wilder worked off of his jab to set up his big power shots and eventually wore his opponent down.

Firtha is now the 3rd fighter (in 30) to make it as far as the 4th round with Wilder, and in doing so, at least forced the ‘Bronze Bomber’ to show a wider range of artillery. We already knew about his overhand right, but in order to keep the early swarming Firtha at bay, Wilder had to get a decent stiff jab going and also showed some weighty hooks and uppercuts, but still, after 30 fights without a significant test and 30 opponents dispatched by KO in under 4 rounds, fight fans and observers can be forgiven for not drinking the Bronze coloured Kool Aid just yet.

Golden Boy had claimed that they were seeking a higher level of opponent and that most priced themselves out, and there’s some credibility to that claim, given that facing a huge, athletic knockout artist who doesn’t hold a belt is a high risk, with a low reward opportunity. In all fairness, Wilder beat a sizeable experienced fighter in British Olympic Gold medallist Audley Harrison, but given Harrison’s well documented fear of getting hurt, that 70 second assignment didn’t amount to much. Wilder also agreed in principle to face another British fighter, Dereck Chisora in London earlier this year, but after an arrest in Las Vegas, Wilder’s travel plans were thrown into chaos, and that fight fell through the window.

It’s certain that fight would have been much more of a measuring stick for Wilder than any before. Chisora took Vitali Klitschko to the distance and gave him more trouble than any of his recent opponents. In addition, Chisora also was a victim of one of the most shocking robberies of recent times in a fight with another giant, Robert Helenius and only lost on points to much touted prospect, Tyson Fury despite coming into that fight woefully out of shape and unfocussed.  There’s no doubt that an in shape Chisora would be a perfect matchup to give Wilder some rounds and the sort of awkward, tough fight that he’s lacked so far. “Del Boy,” has a decent chin, is durable and would make it difficult for Wilder to set up the haymakers he’s used to landing on his hapless opposition.

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Chisora has already taken to the social networks to blast Wilder and try to make the fight again, but the controversy surrounding their previous aborted fight (Chisora’s promoter announced the fight when GBP claimed they’d told them there was an issue), and sadly, GBP’s own apparent plans for Wilder make that matchup unlikely right now.

Richard Schaefer,  GBP CEO, speaking after Wilders victory at the weekend, said, “Deontay’s right at the top two or three ratings in the WBC. With the news we got last week that Vitali Klitschko is going to be running for president of Ukraine, I anticipate that he will no longer fight, and that the title will become vacant.” Schaefer continued, “My goal is to have Deontay fight in his next fight for the WBC heavyweight championship against [Bermane] Stiverne. So that’s the goal, and then, after that, go for Wladimir Klitschko and unify all titles and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. That was the plan, that is the plan, and I’m going to do whatever I can in my  power to get it done because I know that the man on my right here is going to do everything in the ring to make that plan come true.”

Wilder is actually ranked numbed 3 in the WBC ratings, behind mandatory challenger to Klitschko, Stiverne, and Cris Arreloa who already dropped a decision to Stiverne before his own destruction of Seth Mitchell recently.  In Schaefer’s mind, these 3 fighters are the only contenders to take over Vitali’s belt should he vacate, however, Sampson Lewcowicz, promoter of Number 4 contender Magumed Abdusalamov sees things very differently.

“The bottom line is this, if Vitali vacates the title, then Stiverne and Arreloa will fight each other. Wilder will have to face the winner of Abdusalamov and Mike Perez (who fight next Saturday) and then IF Wilder wins, he can face the winner of Stiverne and Arreola for the title”

 

So the scramble begins now for a belt that isn’t even vacant yet, and whilst it isn’t surprising that Golden Boy (as all major promoters would) are trying to muscle their man straight into contention, what is surprising to us at The Heavy Bag is that they would rush Wilder from facing pretty much part time journeymen into fighting comparatively elite level heavyweights of the level of Stiverne and Klitschko in the next two or 3 fights, especially given the kid glove treatment that Wilder has had so far.

Surely, Wilder would be well served to face someone in the Top 25, and then Top 10 before putting it all on the line. Fighters like the aforementioned Chisora, Steve Cunningham, Tony Thompson all represent a step up, then there’s surely the likes of Odlanier Solis, Ruslan Chagaev, Tomasz Adamek, even the winner of Tyson Fury/David Haye before he gets in the ring with Arreola/Stiverne/Pulev/Povetkin or, unthinkably Wladimir.

Wilder has power, no-one is going to dispute that, but cliche as it may be, no-one can deny that boxing is about levels, and as a fighter progresses, being able to land that shot and even more to the point, being able to hurt someone with that shot becomes more and more difficult.  Wilder got Firtha out of there in destructive fashion as per usual, but Firtha caught the Bronze Bomber’s attention with a few mauling shots of his own and exposed some potential chinks in Wilder’s armour, many of which could simply be down to him not having experienced much proper resistance throughout his career in the squared circle.

So that leaves him between a rock and a hard place. Should he stick and continue his slow progress or should he pounce whilst the Klitschko presidential iron is hot?

If you’ve got any thoughts on the route that the Bronze Bomber could or should be taking now, the Heavy Bag would love to hear them, comment away boxingheads.

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About goldenears71

Tim Vigon. I was born and raised in the UK but moved to Los Angeles in November last year. For years I’ve been addicted to attending live sports, mainly soccer (i followed Manchester United far and wide since 1985) , basketball and boxing. Boxing is in my family, my grandfather worked corners for fighters in London in the 40′s and 50′s and I remember Barry McGuigan’s victory over Eusebio Pedroza when I was 14 years old hooking me into the sport. I was lucky to live through a golden era of British boxing with fighters like Benn, Eubank, Watson, Collins and Hamed, but it was the performance of Marco Antonio Barrera beating Prince Naz that really opened me up to the worldwide game. Ever since i’ve attended hundreds of fights throughout the UK and the USA. I lean towards technical fighters with a warriors’ heart and Juan Manuel Marquez is my favourite active fighter. Twitter - @goldenears

View all posts by goldenears71

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