Deontay Wilder – One to Watch
The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali continue to dominate the world heavyweight scene and if you ask somebody who they should fight next you are normally met with a shrug of the shoulders or the usual suspects who you know don’t really stand a chance. Povetkin ? He continues to run scared and is clearly waiting for them to retire. Helenius ? He was embarrassed by Dereck Chisora in his last fight which he quite clearly lost despite getting the decision. Fury ? Takes far too many clean shots to convince anybody he can share the ring with world class company. Mitchell ? He looks the best of the bunch but he is a late starter in boxing and is unlikely to have the know how.
Now, for those really in the know there is a young man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama aged 26 who has been appearing on the undercard of Golden Boy fights called Deontay Wilder. Nicknamed the “Brown Bomber” he has accumulated 20 wins from 20 professional fights, all by way of knockout.
Standing at 6 ft 7 ins with a reach of 87 ins to look at him you would think he was more suited to basketball than boxing but his look is deceiving. He has shown throughout his short career that he possesses devastating punching power.
Some may remember him from the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, in which he was the only US boxer to bring home a medal, a bronze. He won his first two fights against Abdelaziz Toulbibi and Mohammed Arjaoui but was then beaten by the Italian, Clemente Russo who ended up with the silver medal.
In a short but highly successful amateur career, a year earlier he lifted both the Golden Gloves and the US amateur championship.
In the Golden Gloves he came in as an unknown (only 14 bouts) and went on to emerge triumphantly, defeating much fancied Cadet world champion Isaiah Thomas and David Thompson in the finals.
In the US amateur championships he defeated Quantis Graves, and won the final, 31-15, over southpaw James Zimmerman.
Then it was on to the Olympic trials in which he twice came up against Graves making it a hat trick of wins over him. He won the trials in just 21 bouts but then In the first round of the 2007 World Championships, he dropped a 20-23 decision to Poland’s Krzysztof Zimnoch.
It failed to halt this fast rising star with a growing reputation for a big right hand, though, and in early 2008, he scored a career best win over World Championship silver medallist Rakhim Chakhiyev in Russia.
He qualified for the Olympics by beating Deivis Julio 6-5, Jorge Quinones from Ecuador on double countback, and Brazilian Rafael Lima 6-5 at the qualifier despite being behind on the scorecards going into the final round of each bout.
He was then the only member of the US team to grab a medal despite high expectation in a team that included the likes of highly regarded Gary Russell Jr and Demetrius Andrade.
His professional career has been a whirlwind. Such is the sheer ferocity of his punch power he has fought only 31 rounds in 20 fights, knocking out all 20 of his opponents, 13 of them in the first round. He has been kept under the radar a little bit by Golden Boy as due to his short amateur career they wanted him to gain some experience and get some rounds under his belt but he has shown that the low level of opposition he has been put in with are just too overmatched. It is time for him to be moved up a level and it is a division where a lot of ranked fighters are simply there for the taking. I cannot see the likes of Samuel Peter and Michael Grant standing up to his power and then maybe towards the end of 2012 he should be fighting the top heavyweights with the exception of the Klitschkos.
At 26, he has time to wait for the Klitschkos to either decline or retire and then it is difficult to see who can stand in his way if he keeps on progressing to the level that I think he will. There hasn’t been as exciting a heavyweight KO specialist since Mike Tyson and this kid could reignite the division which has been one of the dullest for the last ten years. And we all know that the heavyweight division at it’s best is what brings fans to boxing.
So, believe me when I say it, Deontay Wilder is the name to watch in the heavyweight division.