DEONTAY WILDER has dubbed his upcoming WBC world heavyweight title defence against an undeserving Chris Arreola a ‘special occasion.’
The unbeaten American will face Arreola, who has twice failed to win a world title, at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama on July 16.
Wilder was set to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in May, only for the Russian to fail a drug test, thus ruining that date. As such, a fight with Arreola was hastily arranged.
“I feel like this is a special occasion. It’s a short notice fight. A lot of guys said they would take it, but used the short notice as an excuse,” Wilder said.
“It takes a lot to put together a fight. But when you can get someone who can make the best of this and put on a great show, it’s a job well done.
“This is going to be an exciting fight for everyone. It’s two dangerous heavyweights. Two guys who fight with their hearts. It’s going to be an action-packed fight from beginning to end.
“People said Arreola doesn’t deserve the shot, but who are they to say things about a man who every time he gets in the ring, fights with his heart?
“There’s only one name who can make this be what it is. Every time he steps in the ring, he comes to fight. I think we chose the right person.”
There won’t be many who share Wilder’s view, given that Arreola has won just one of his last four outings, and that was against the anonymous Curtis Harper in March 2015.
Prior to that he was outpointed and stopped in two meetings with Bermane Stiverne, the second of which was for the vacant WBC crown, which Wilder then relieved Stiverne of.
To close out 2015 he drew Fred Kassi over 10 then just scraped past Travis Kauffman on points, rising from a knockdown, only to have the result changed to a No Contest after testing positive for marijuana.
Despite this Wilder, who spent a few weeks training in Sheffield, England ahead of his aborted fight with Povetkin, remains adamant that Arreola is a worthy opponent.
“This is going to be a great fight for boxing fans. I chose to go back home because of all the travel I did preparing for the Povetkin fight. I’m excited to be in my backyard and have the great support behind me. I won’t crack under the pressure,” he continued.
“The fans will get their money’s worth. It’s two tough and determined fighters who are trying to knock each other’s head off.
“This was my longest layoff. I’ve wanted to be an active champion since I won the belt. When one door closes, another one opens.
“It’s up to Chris to take advantage of this opportunity. He has his own history that he can make and it will mean a lot to him.
“My mentality is to go all out. Everything I say, I really believe. I don’t need anyone to believe in me, because I believe in myself.
“I have a guy in front of me who’s trying to stop me from getting to the next level. I promise this is going to be an outstanding fight.”
Wilder, who has only ever gone the distance once in a 36 fight professional career, is yet to face a serious threat since winning the title from Stiverne in January 2015. Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas and Artur Szpilka have all fallen inside the distance, though not before putting up decent efforts to unseat the 30-year-old.
Povetkin was set to be his first major test and it was a tantalising prospect, though the WBC are currently reviewing the case and the fight could be rescheduled.