UNDEFEATED WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) will defend his title in his home state when he battles two-time world title challenger Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, July 16 from Legacy Arena at the BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama with televised coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Wilder returns to the ring after he was set to travel to Russia and defend his title against Alexander Povetkin on May 21 before the challenger failed a drug test that caused a cancellation of the fight. Now, Wilder will showcase his exceptional skills in primetime on network television as he takes on Arreola. It will be Wilder’s fourth defense and third in his home state of Alabama.
“I’m always excited about coming home and being in front of my people where I’m the most comfortable,” said Wilder. “I’ve been traveling a lot, going over to Sheffield, England to train before I was supposed to fight Alexander Povetkin in Moscow… I’m disappointed about that [falling through], but it’s not going to stop me from being an active heavyweight world champion. It has also given me the opportunity to again defend my title before my hometown fans. It’s always good to come home.”
“This is the longest stretch that I’ve been out of the ring and I’m anxious to get back in and continue my quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,” continued Wilder. “This is another fight in that process. I respect Chris Arreola for getting into the ring with me, but we all know who the real champion is and I’m going to prove it. I’ve been training long and hard for a fight and now I’m going to take it out on Arreola on July 16.”
“I’m thankful to Deontay for this opportunity, he has proven a great deal by winning the heavyweight title and by defending it three times,” said Arreola. “I’m very excited to step into the ring with him, put on a great show, be victorious and make history by becoming the first Mexican heavyweight world champion.”
“We are thrilled that Deontay will be back in the ring quickly, in primetime on FOX, and at home in Alabama. Chris Arreola knows that this is his last opportunity for heavyweight glory and will likely come out throwing bombs from the opening bell. I expect an explosive, fan friendly fight for as long as it lasts,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “In the wake of Povetkin’s positive PED test and the cancellation of that fight, we are happy that Deontay’s next heavyweight title defense will be contested on July 16th and on such a great platform.”
“Chris knows what this fight means, and having been in the position to be the first Mexican heavyweight world champion before, he’s not going to let that chance slip by him again, ” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions.
“We are excited to work with DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions to bring the third heavyweight boxing championship in a little over a year to the state of Alabama,” said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event Team. “We expect tickets for this fight to sell quickly and we encourage Alabama boxing fans to show their support for Deontay.”
“FOX and FOX Deportes are thrilled to be broadcasting the much anticipated heavyweight championship of the world between Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola as part of our partnership with Premier Boxing Champions,” said David Nathanson, FOX Sports Head of Business Operations. “It’s been just over 20 years since FOX presented its last heavyweight headliner, Mike Tyson vs. Buster Mathis. We’re sure this title fight will deliver another amazing PBC show on our networks.”
The heavyweight champion from Tuscaloosa is itching to get back in the ring after defending his title with stoppages of Eric Molina, Johann Duahaupas and most recently a one-punch knockout of Artur Szpilka in January. Before turning pro in November 2008, Wilder won the bronze medal at heavyweight for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympic Games. He is the last American male boxer to medal in the Olympics. The 30-year-old won the belt with a dominant decision over Bermane Stiverne in January 2015. The six-month layoff will be the longest of Wilder’s career. This fight will mark the eighth time Wilder fights in his home state of Alabama as a professional.
Always in exciting fights, the Los Angeles-born Arreola will look to entertain the primetime audience as he takes his third crack at a heavyweight world championship. With victories over Eric Molina, Seth Mitchell, Joey Abell and Jameel McCline plus championship losses to Vitali Klitschko and Bermane Stiverne, he will be one of the most battle-tested opponents of Wilder’s career.
There will be two more hours of boxing on FS1 and FOX Deportes at 10 p.m. ET, immediately following the Wilder vs. Arreola fight on FOX. Further details will be announced shortly.