Although Deontay Wilder became the first American boxer since 2006 to claim a version of the World Heavyweight championship by beating Canadian opponent Bermane Stiverne via a unanimous points decision, many experts will have been disappointed by his inability to finish the contest inside the scheduled 12 rounds. He has stopped all his previous challengers before the start of round five but Wilder still reckoned that he had proved a point in the contest by dominating throughout a fight in which was rarely troubled.
In a heavyweight era dominated by the Klitschko brothers from Ukraine, Wilder has been viewed as the one US fighter capable of upsetting current WBA, WBO and IBF champion Wladimir especially as he proved in 32 previous fights that he possesses the ability to end bouts with spectacular punching in much the same way as Mike Tyson many years previously.
Stiverne was viewed as a capable opponent prior to the fight having lost just one of his previous 26 professional fights back in 2007 and winning the WBC version of the World title when beating Chris Arreola in May last year. However, the Canadian has not been the busiest of boxers in recent years having fought just once during 2012, 2013 and 2014 and he appeared rather ring-rusty during the 12 rounds with Wilder.
Wilder fought four times during 2013 and a further twice during the following year. Although the quality of the opponents fought was sometimes questionable, the ease in which he claimed victories suggested that the best years lay ahead for the promising 29 year old American.
His World Championship contest with Stiverne was viewed as a stepping stone towards an eventual unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko and there was hope that an early finish to the fight would emphasise his credentials as the most viable opponent for the Ukrainian fighter.
However, for those fans expecting an early stoppage, the outcome was far different than expected with Wilder producing a more composed performance than in earlier bouts as though he was attempting to prove that he possessed boxing ability aside from his punching power.
The American probably realises that Klitschko may be able to withstand his attempts at an early knockout during any scheduled fight, and so he used this Championship contest to gain valuable ring experience and dismay any stamina concerns which may have been mentioned.
As boxing fans throughout the World now await a showdown between the best two Heavyweights from the United States and Eastern Europe, it is to be hoped that politics does not interfere with the scheduling of any proposed bout. Although Deontay Wilder’s weekend victory may not have been secured in the spectacular manner craved by many people, there is now much more interest in the heavyweight division and that can only be good news for the sport.