The wait is finally over.
America has its first world heavyweight champion since 2007 as Deontay Wilder out-boxed, out-punched and dominated Bermane Stiverne over 12 rounds to capture the WBC title in front of 8,453 at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Wilder had so many questions beforehand to answer as the media and fans picked holes in his record of 32-0 (32). His biggest wins were against nearly men Audley Harrison and Malik Scott, so the questions were valid even though America’s hope entered as a betting favourite.
Stiverne was the tested fighter – comparatively at least – coming into this one. He captured the championship last May, repeating his victory over tough contender Chris Arreola. In contrast, Wilder had never been past four rounds, and his whiskers were untested as he entered the biggest fight of his life against a known puncher. The doubters need not have worried as Wilder passed just about every test as he took the fight to Stiverne, hurting him on more than one occasion throughout this distance fight.
What was pleasantly surprising was that Wilder boxed well behind his jab. It was like a piston sometimes and for huge parts of the fight it kept the smaller Stiverne from getting close to land his shots. The straight right power that had dispatched many of the previous 32 opponents was the punch that had most effect. Stiverne was hurt badly, especially in the seventh, as Wilder went for the kill but the granite chinned ex-champion even called for more punishment while surviving the round. The new champion showed he could mix it at the right moments but also use his head under pressure when Stiverne got close; Wilder would punch with him but then use his superior foot work and jab to quickly get out of the way, creating the distance needed to regain control.
As the fight entered the championship rounds there was no doubting Wilder’s fitness as the challenger stood tall and easily proved to the world that he can do a hard 12-rounder by nullifying Stiverne’s last ditch attacks – another question mark quashed. When the final bell sounded he ran across the ring to press row and shouted “Who can’t box? Who can’t box?” in response to the taunts that he was a one dimensional puncher.
There was to be no doubt about the outcome. Wilder had won the vast majority of the rounds and thankfully the three judges agreed as Adalaide Byrd (118-109), Jerry Roth (119-108) and Craig Metcalfe (120-107) scored the fight for the new WBC heavyweight champion from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
For his title winning effort, Wilder made $1million, while Stiverne claimed a handy $910,000.
At the post fight press conference Wilder has stated his intent to unify the heavyweight division by fighting Wladimir Klitschko but also mentioned that his next aim was to fight Britain’s Tyson Fury.
Stiverne, sent to hospital as a precaution, was not present.
Below is my scorecard, the media scores for this fight and the official punch stats.
Bobby Hunter’s Scorecard
Round 1…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 2…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 3…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 4…. 9-10 Stiverne
Round 5… 10-9 Wilder
Round 6… 9-10 Stiverne
Round 7…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 8…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 9…. 10-9 Wilder
Round 10.. 10-9 Wilder
Round 11.. 9-10 Stiverne
Round 12.. 9-10 Stiverne
TOTAL : 116-112 Deontay Wilder
Official Punch Stats
Wilder = 621 Thrown , 227 Landed , (37 per cent Connect rate)
Stiverne = 527 Thrown , 110 Landed , (34 per cent Connect rate)
Ave Boxing Media Scores (42 in Total)
Wilder : 42 Media Scores, 100 per cent
Stiverne : 0 Media Scores
Draw : 0 Media Scores
**AVERAGE SCORE WAS 117-111 WILDER**
Boxing Media Scores
Matt Christie (Boxing News) : 118-110 Wilder
Luis Sandoval (Fighthype) : 115-113 Wilder
Dan Rafael (ESPN) : 117-111 Wilder
Kevin Iole (Yahoo.com) : 115-113 Wilder
Michael Rosenthal (Ring Magazine) : 116-112 Wilder
Steve Carp (Las Vegas Review) : 117-111 Wilder
Scott Christ (BadLeftHook) : 116-112 Wilder
Ramon Aranda (3MoreRounds) : 116-112 Wilder
Adam Abramowitz (Saturday Night Boxing) :115-113 Wilder
Raging Babe.com : 116-112 Wilder
Anthony Larger (BadLeftHook) : 115-113 Wilder
Phil D Jay (WorldBoxingNews) : 117-111 Wilder
Lyle Fitzsimmons (CBS Sports) : 116-112 Wilder
Alex Morris (BoxingAsylum) : 118-110 Wilder
Brian Campbell (ESPN) : 118-110 Wilder
Mark Ortega (Freelance) : 115-113 Wilder
Wolfgang Schiffbauer (Sturm Promotions) : 116-112 Wilder
Eric Raskin (Allinmag.com) : 117-111 Wilder
Steve Kim (UCNLive.com) : 117-111 Wilder
Keith Idec (Boxingscene) : 116-112 Wilder
Cliff Rold (Boxingscene) : 116-112 Wilder
Adam Canavan (Boxing Mad Magazine) : 116-112 Wilder
Michael Woods (TheSweetScience) : 119-109 Wilder
Fightnews.com : 116-111 Wilder
Next Big Fight : 117-111 Wilder
Jake Donovan (BoxingScene ED) : 116-111 Wilder
FULL RINGSIDE REPORT – AND REACTION – AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD IN NEXT WEEK’S BOXING NEWS. Don’t miss the opinion of Daniel Herbert, who was ringside when Mike Tyson defeated Trevor Berbick, on Tuesday.