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Wilder vs. Firtha: Will Deontay ever step up?

wilder991By John Hoolan: It was announced this week that heavyweight Deontay Wilder’s next fight will be on Oct 26th on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat against Nicolai Firtha (21-10-1, 8 KO’s).

As you can see from his record Firtha has TEN losses. Wilder will be having his 30th pro fight against Firtha and is yet to step up to a level that could be classed anywhere near respectable.

Whilst Firtha is a tough cookie, he is just a journeyman and the level of fighter that Wilder should have fought two years ago, not now as he talks about taking control of the heavyweight scene. In fact Tyson Fury fought Firtha 2 years ago in his 15th fight and beat him in the 5th round. I take Wilder to win within 2 rounds.

I fail to see why his management have set this fight up. They have said that they couldn’t find any other opponent at this short notice, yet Kevin Johnson has said he would have taken the fight had he received a call. The call never came…

Wilder’s career and record is being carefully manufactured whilst it will and does look good on paper, if you look at the detail the quality of opponent has been awful. Biggest names on his CV are Audley Harrison and Sergey Liakhovich. Not names that strike fear into any top 15 heavyweight in the world. However a record of 29 fights, 29 wins, 29 KOs will cause headlines and create a great deal of interest, meaning money and as well all know money talks!

Next year has to be the year that Wilder steps up. He has to start fighting top 20 ranked fighters, all these journeymen are OK when starting out but not after 30 fights and 5 years in the pro ranks. I’m pretty sure that the thought of beating Lamar Clark’s record of 44 consecutive knockouts has crossed his mind, but there is a bigger picture here. Wilder’s fans will tell you “Bomb squad” is going to clean up in 2014. Well not by fighting journeymen he won’t.

One possible opponent for Wilder could be David Price. Price told Ringside on SKY “I’d fight Deontay Wilder in a heartbeat. I know he’s a ferocious puncher, but so am I.”

Who would win is a debate for another time. It would raise the profile in Europe of Wilder. However, I wonder how he’ll fair when he is eventually pushed past 4/5 rounds which he would be against a Dereck Chisora or a Tomasz Adamek. Would Deontay have the stamina to continue or would he simply fade and get stopped?

If he doesn’t start to step it up then he may find his world crashing in around him leaving him nowhere to go.

I wish him well…

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