It was an easy night for Deontay Wilder on Saturday as he defended his WBC heavyweight title by knocking out Bermane Stiverne in the first round.
What can we learn from such a one-sided encounter at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and where does Wilder go next?
There won’t be a trilogy
Thankfully, there is no chance of Wilder-Stiverne III. Stiverne, 39, had fought just once since he lost the WBC strap to Wilder in January 2015, coming back from a first-round knockdown to earn a unanimous points decision win over Derric Rossy the following November.
That was still enough for him to be ranked No. 1 contender to Wilder by the WBC governing body. However, this was such a demolition job that one thing we can be assured about — and grateful for — that we won’t have to see these two fight again.
After two years out of action, the out-of-shape challenger was quickly dispatched in an impressively clinical display. According to CompuBox stats, Stiverne failed to even land a punch in a $506,250 pay day.
Wilder takes care of business
Wilder was unhappy at having to face Stiverne again, but sometimes you have to do things you don’t like in order to get where you want.
Rival heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua and his team argue that Wilder has no major names on his impressive 39-0, 38 KOs record. Alexander Povetkin last year and Luis “King Kong” Ortiz last month, failed drug tests leaving Wilder to fight alternative opponents.
Wilder may lack a name on his record like Wladimir Klitschko, who Joshua stopped in the 11th round in April. But truth is, there is not a lot of depth in the heavyweight division compared to other weight classes.
Wilder-Joshua is boxing’s next in-demand fight
Just like Golovkin-Canelo and Mayweather-Pacquiao before it, Wilder-Joshua is what the fans, broadcasters and media want. Trouble is, we might have to wait for it.
Following his victory over Carlos Takam in Cardiff last month, Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), 28, declared his intention to fight three times in 2018. His team hopes one of those will be against Wilder. His bold ambition is to hold all four versions of the world heavyweight title and in order to do so he will have to beat Wilder and New Zealand’s WBO titleholder Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs).
But, outside of fighting each other, there is not a lot of options for Wilder or Joshua for super fights.
The winner of the all-English rematch between Tony Bellew and David could emerge as a possibility for either Wilder or Joshua, although Bellew insists he will not fight his friend Joshua.
Ortiz could be nearly 40 by the time he contests titles again while England’s Tyson Fury is five or six stones overweight and a long way from title contention, despite all his regular promises on social media of winning back the titles in 2018.
In the UK, or U.S., Joshua-Wilder massive
Both Wilder and Joshua insist they want the fight and it seems likely in 2018, perhaps at London’s Wembley Stadium in the summer or Las Vegas later in the year.
Wilder has a good profile in the U.K. which would help promote a fight with Joshua. He impressed and charmed fans when he fought in Sheffield, England, in 2013. The American destroyed England’s Audley Harrison, gold medal winner at the 2000 Olympics, in 70 seconds.
Joshua’s pulling power in the U.K. can secure a big crowd at a soccer stadium — like the 90,000 that witnessed his victory over Klitschko at Wembley — but a Las Vegas venue may trump the gate revenue.
If not Joshua, who could be next for Wilder?
Maybe Dominic Breazeale. The American is No. 6 in the WBC rankings and fought on the Wilder-Stiverne undercard, registering an eighth round win over fellow Joshua victim Eric Molina.
Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), 32, registered his second win since being knocked out in the seventh round by Joshua in June 2016. The 2012 U.S. Olympian then claimed he wanted to face Wilder.
Promoter Eddie Hearn suggested last month that Wilder should face Dillian Whyte in London on Feb. 3, to drum up interest in a summer fight with Joshua. However, Wilder is not optimistic of fighting the Briton.
Whyte told ESPN last week that he should now be made mandatory challenge by the WBC and that seems his only chance of facing Wilder, who says he is not interested in a voluntary defence against Whyte.
“A king don’t chase the peasants,” Wilder said post-Stiverne. “A king takes kings. I want Joshua. If he don’t give me the fight we have other plans. Why should I go to England to fight a peasant without the king on the contract? The world want Joshua, the world want Wilder. I want Joshua.”