(NEW YORK) He’s back. The brash, charismatic and flamboyant WBC heavyweight champion who talks like he needs no introduction, introduced colorful challenger Artur Szpilka to his dark side at Four World Trade on the eve of tonight’s clash at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Showtime.
On hand to promote the 3rd defense of his belt won via one-sided pounding of Bermane Stiverne and to honor the fallen victims of September 11 the other day, Wilder used the opportunity to escalate beef and attempted to bludgeon the irascible Polish southpaw on the upper deck after Szpilka threatened to “kick his ass” right then and there. In order to invade the space on your flatscreen in the future and get the mega bout with Tyson Fury he craves in 2016, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama product knows he has to deliver a massive knockout tonight.
“We’re not looking past Artur Szpilka,” the 30-year-old Wilder said, while explaining his ruckus with Szpilka. “Things happen due to adrenaline and excitement, but I’m very confident about what I’m going to do on Saturday night. He wants to be the first Polish heavyweight champion of the world. You know he’s coming to make history.
“This is going to be a hard fight, but a fun fight. Everyone who sees this fight, they’re going to get their money’s worth. It’s going to be a great show. I cannot wait. Waiting is the hardest part of boxing.”
He’s right, as hardcore fans of boxing have waited over a decade for some excitement in the sport’s most glamorous division. At 6’7 and 228 lbs, Wilder (35-0, 34KO) has the look of a prototypical heavyweight action hero out of Hollywood, complete with a chiseled frame and one-punch KO power. His made for TV personality and aggressive style makes him a potential superstar, and he’ll need to fight like one tonight, as he follows the colossal Fury upset of Wladimir Klitschko and the rise of Luis Ortiz.
In many ways this fight can turn into a no win situation for Wilder if he’s not careful, as Al Haymon has chosen to pit the new young champion with yet another confidence building opponent with little name recognition. The problem is– the 6’3, 235 lb Szpilka (21-1, 15KO) can fight. Athletic, stylish and in possession of a versatile offensive attack, the 26-year old Pole is far and away the most talented fighter Wilder has ever faced. He’s improved notably since being clinically undressed and dismissed in the 10th round by Bryant Jennings in January 2014. When combined with the fact that the “Bronze Bomber” hasn’t looked especially sharp defensively in his past two outings John Duhaupas and Erik Molina (most notably against Molina- where he was cleaned up in round 3 by a major left hook), this is a very dangerous fight.
Deontay Wilder-Artur Szpilka
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
TV: Showtime, 10 p.m. ET
More than likely, Wilder, who owns a pretty significant height and reach advantage (as well as a slight edge in hand speed), will be able to use distance control and get maximum leverage on his chopping shots to eliminate the crafty and defensively adept Szpilka. This fight should produce fireworks fairly quickly, as Szpilka (who’ll be fighting in front of a few thousand Poles who made their way from Chicago to Brooklyn) will bravely fight in a very forceful way under the guidance of veteran trainer Ronnie Shields, something which will put him directly in the wheelhouse of Wilder.
The best punch of the “Bronze Bomber” is an overhand right, and it will be available if timed correctly – as is the case with any southpaw, so look for Wilder to land this shot with concussive effect at some point in the early going. Because so much is riding on the outcome of this fight in the suddenly red-hot division, an inspired Wilder should detonate and explode Szpilka somewhere around the 5th round in a wild action fight.
This card tonight has even more significance in the division when we factor in the clash between Ukraine’s Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs), who will fight Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KOs), of Carson, California, for a vacant heavyweight belt, one stripped from Fury just 10 days after the massive upset of Klitschko on Nov. 28. If you are a mere casual fan of boxing, there’s no way you’ll want to miss what goes on at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. For more on this fight and other relevant news in the world of boxing, please visit Real Combat Media.