By Marc Livitz: Deontay Wilder hung on to his WBC World Heavyweight title by way of a hard earned, rough and gritty effort tonight which led to a ninth round TKO victory over Artur Szpilka at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The undefeated champion from Tuscaloosa, Alabama made his third successful defense of the WBC title he wrested from Bermane Stiverne just one day less than a year ago to date. His Polish opponent pushed him high and far, but never quite to the brink of defeat. As a precautionary measure, Artur Szpilka was removed from the ring on s stretcher with his head immobilized. During the post fight interview, undefeated Tyson Fury crashed Wilder’s party in the spirit of years past.
Southpaw Szpilka (20-2, 15 KO’s) took the fight to the unbeaten Wilder (36-0, 35 KO’s) early on in front a vastly pro-Poland crowd in Brooklyn. Artur appeared to be the more poised of the two as Wilder misfired on a few wildly thrown right hooks. The battle of nerves continued into the second round, yet Szpilka was able to keep Wilder at a bit of a distance with his right jab. Towards the end of round three, Deontay’s comfort level settled in a bit more and he connected with a crisp counter right hand thrown just over his Polish foe’s guard.
As was evident earlier in the week, there was neither love lost nor many kind words exchanged between the two combatants. The jawing began in round four. Szpilka went to the body until Wilder answered with a powerful, straight right which backed him up, although it was well absorbed.
The distance began to close in the fifth as Wilder’s jab was effective unless Szpilka scored with either his left jab or short swarming tactics. Artur did his best to take the scrum directly to his Deep South adversary in the closing seconds and a nicely placed right uppercut from Wilder didn’t seem to phase him. Throughout the sixth, it was as if Szpilka was searching for another for which the ringside judges to critique. He smiled and taunted Deontay as he took hard punches to the head. He missed on a right uppercut and received a crunching right to the face for his trouble.
A quick one-two from Wilder opened the seventh and as before, Artur simply smiled back at his Alabama foe. The last half of the round belonged to Szpilka as he did his best to push Deontay into a backpedal and found success with his right jab and follow up left. Wilder seemed to be loading up on his right, yet it was the right of Szpilka which kept befuddling him at times. Artur’s slipping of shots caused Deontay to himself slip to the canvas in the eighth round.
Szpilka was moving more than usual in the opening moments of the ninth. Wilder landed a shot to the back of the head and Artur almost did the same moments later. Deontay utilized his 83" jab as he threw and threw away towards his opponent. The end came with under fifty seconds to spare. Szpilka missed wide on an overhand left and his mistake allowed Wilder to almost instantly counter with a right hook of his own.
Artur went straight to the canvas and lay almost motionless on his back. Referee Michael Griffin didn’t bother to count unless he planned to do so to the count of perhaps a few hundred. The difference for Wilder with this shot as opposed to the various other power shots he’d landed was that this one was pure action and reaction. Incoming met outgoing force.
The victorious Wilder was accommodating towards his opponent afterwards. "I told him that he was a great contender and the Polish people can have nothing said about them", he said. "I never want to hurt the next man because he needs to go back to his family."
Shortly thereafter, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO’s) made his way into the ring and directly into Wilder’s face with a direct challenge. After Fury loudly sang into Jim Gray’s microphone to the tune of "There’s Only One Tyson Fury", Wilder immediately accepted the drawing of the line in the sand.
"Anytime, anyplace. I’ll fight you in your backyard", said Wilder. "This is all an act. You’re not a real fighter. I don’t play this. This is just an act that you are doing. This is not wrestling. This is real. I can promise you that when you step in the ring with me, I will baptize you."
Charles Martin TKO 3 Vyacheslav Glazkov - Vacant IBF World Heavyweight Title
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Adam Konwacki UD 8 Danny Kelley - Heavyweight
Mike Lee TKO 3 Joe Gardner - Cruiserweight
Ivan Golub TKO 1 Juan Rodriguez, Jr. - Welterweight
Carlos Gongora TKO 4 Derrick Adkins - Light Heavyweight
Botirsher Obidov UD 4 Ramil Gadzhiev - Super Middeweight
Julian Sosa TKO 2 Bryan Timmons - Welterweight
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January 16, 2016