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Deontay Wilder: At the right place at the right time

wilder673By Robbie Bannatyne: Elite sport, especially boxing, has a lot to do with levels and timing. Fortunately for Deontay Wilder he seems to be approaching elite level in the Heavyweight division at just the right time.

At 30 years old, many consider the ‘Bronze Bomber’ to be somewhat of a late bloomer. But for many Wilder is blooming at just the right time.

For starters, his arrival at elite level coincides perfectly with the period at which the Klitschko era is coming to an end. The famous Ukrainian brothers, in particular Wladimir, the long reigning WBA, IBO, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine champion have had a vice like grip on the division for a near decade. But their hegemony of the heavyweight class is in the closing stages as Vitali has recently retired and will probably never return again, whilst younger brother Wladimir has publicly stated that he is suffering from a serious lack of motivation to continue his reign at the top.

It is a racing certainty that the landscape of the heavyweight scene will soon be vastly different, but it remains to be seen who will be the prominent fighters in this new epoch for the heavyweight division. Will Deontay Wilder be the next force to be reckoned with in this once famous fighting sphere? Could fight fans even witness a changing of the guard encounter between Klitschko and Wilder somewhere down the line? It is certainly within the realms of possibility that the two will meet in the ring. Wilder is now the mandatory challenger for the vacant WBC belt, which Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne will soon compete for, and that is the only belt Wladimir Klitschko must capture to achieve his publicly stated dream of becoming the unified heavyweight champion of the world.

There are many who decry Wilder’s achievements and discredit his 100% knockout record due to the diluted caliber of opponents he has faced, yet he seems as well placed as any other heavyweight to take over the mantle from Klitschko.

Despite all the obvious questions marks about his ability to really compete at the highest level he continues to answer all such questions with emphatic ease, even as the class of his opponent increases. If anything, his killer instincts seem to sharpen as the competition he faces improves- witness his recent demolition of Malik Scott, who is considered a world class operator, for a useful point of reference.

Of course, as he moves up in class he will have to hone his craft more. But you get the sense that Wilder’s main challenge will be in a mental sense because, from a purely physical perspective he looks far more superior to other any Heavyweight in the World, barring of course Wladimir Klitschko.

Wilder hasn’t gone past 4 rounds in his professional career and is so used to just focusing solely on his strengths. And thus his biggest test will be how he maintains his focus and concentration when he must take into account the problems his opponents poses.

However, his lack of ring experience, in terms of rounds fought at the any level never mind elite standard, may actually help rather than hinder his progress. He may not have many miles on the clock but he has shown that he has the capacity to quickly move through the gears to devastating effect- again witness his recent demolition of Malik Scott for a useful point of reference. The tentative opening to the fight drew loud boos from a Puerto Rican crowd baying for blood until BANG, the fight was over. He made it look so easy.

In contrast, it would be anything but easy if he were to face Klitschko, who would definitely prove a far more insurmountable object than any other opponent he has ever faced. But Klitschko is normally far taller and has a much greater reach than most of his opponents who he usually elects to box at long rang. Wilder, though, at 6ft 6in is half an inch taller and has a 2inch reach advantage over Klitschko (81in). So it stands to reason that with his superior height and reach Wilder would at least be able to land punches on Klitschko- no mean feat when you consider how most the giant Ukrainian’s opponents struggle badly to even find their range never mind hit the target.

Could Klitschko cope with the brute force of Wilder’s murderous power punches if the Bronze Bomber was able to catch him cleanly?

Only time will tell. Although for now Deontay Wilder seems to be in the right place at the right time. But expect his manager Al Haymon and promoters Golden Boy Promotions to pick the perfect time before pushing him to the very top level to face Wladimir Kiltschko.

Thanks for Reading.

Fight Fans: Will Deontay Wilder rule the Heavyweight Division after Kiltschko retires or is he a hype job?

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