HEAVYWEIGHT world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs) will make the second defense of his title when he faces France’s Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs) in primetime on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC Saturday, September 26 from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Televised coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT with exciting undefeated brawler Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (25-0-1, 18 KOs) returning to the ring to battle former world champion Antonio DeMarco (31-5-1, 23 KOs) in 12 rounds of super lightweight action.
This fight will signify the return of heavyweight world championship boxing in primetime on NBC. This is the first heavyweight title bout in primetime on NBC since May 20, 1985, when another undefeated American heavyweight world champion, Larry Holmes, defended his title against Carl Williams in Reno, Nevada with legendary broadcaster Marv Albert on the call, just as he will be on September 26. Now, Wilder looks to pick up where Holmes left off and deliver world-class heavyweight action right into sports fans’ living rooms.
Wilder returns to his home state to defend his title for the second time this year after knocking out Eric Molina in the ninth round of their June bout. Wilder won his world title with a dominating performance against former champion Bermane Stiverne in January and became the first undefeated American to win a heavyweight title since Michael Moorer in 1994 and the first U.S. born heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs in 2006.
“Fighting at home last time exceeded my expectations and coming back again is a blessing upon my life,” said Wilder. “I’m looking forward to bringing more boxing to Alabama and introducing the entire state to this great sport.”
“I know my opponent has great size and that’s what we’re looking for in opponents. He has a great record and he’s never been knocked out…until he faces me,” added Wilder. I know Duhaupas is tough and he comes to fight and that’s exactly what we need.”
“I am very happy to be challenging Deontay Wilder for the heavyweight world title,” said Duhaupas. “This is a huge opportunity and I will make the most of it on September 26. Deontay is a good boxer, but I have the heart of a lion and the mental fortitude to handle anything in the ring.”
“Deontay Wilder is one of the brightest stars in boxing,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “September 26 will mark his third heavyweight championship fight of 2015 and the second defense of his title. It’s great for boxing to have an American heavyweight champion make a defense in his hometown, on free television, in primetime. In heavyweight years, Deontay is a young champion and it’s great to see him fighting so often and continuing to grow and improve as a champion.”
“The first heavyweight championship fight in Alabama this summer was a huge success and we expect nothing less this time around,” said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event Team. “When the heavyweight champ says he wants to fight in Birmingham, you make it happen. We are looking forward to another incredible display of support for Deontay by the people of Alabama.”
“From Holmes in ’85 to Wilder in ’15, NBC Sports continues its rich boxing heritage with a heavyweight championship fight in primetime,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “This broadcast will introduce Deontay to a whole new group of sports fans, which is what we set out to do when we first partnered with PBC.”
Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Wilder is the fighting pride of Alabama having fought four times in his hometown, once in Mobile and now twice in Birmingham. The 29-year-old began boxing at the age of 21 after his daughter Naieya was born with spina bifida. Despite the late start in this sport, Wilder would go on to represent the U.S. in the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won a bronze medal. He is the last American male boxer to medal in the Olympics.
Before winning his title via a 12-round decision, Wilder had not allowed an opponent to get past the fourth round in any of his pro fights. Over that time Wilder racked up victories over Audley Harrison, Siarhei Liakhovich, Jason Gavern and Malik Scott.
An experienced fighter standing 6’5″ with 20 knockouts to his name, Duhaupas makes his U.S. debut on September 26 looking to realize his heavyweight championship dreams. After turning pro in 2004, the 34-year-old won his first 17 professional fights and has picked up French, South American and the Mediterranean heavyweight titles over his 11-year career. Having fought in 10 different countries throughout his career, the fighter out of Abbeville, Somme, France has been in every kind of sporting environment and will not be phased by the bright lights of primetime when he enters the ring on September 26.
Figueroa made his PBC and 140-pound debut on May 9 when he took down former world champion Ricky Burns in an exciting battle that featured great two-way action throughout. The 25-year-old won a 135-pound world title in 2013 when he outslugged Nihito Arakawa in a brutal “Fight of the Year” battle before defending his title against Jerry Belmontes and Daniel Estrada. Born in Weslaco, Texas, he is looking to be a dominant force in 140 lb. weight division.
A former world champion in the lightweight division, the 29-year-old DeMarco steps back into the ring in Birmingham on September 26. Fighting out of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, he owns victories over John Molina Jr. and Jorge Linares.