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Deontay Wilder subtle improvements

Deontay Wilder(Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment) By Listen: Deontay Wilder (36-0 35KO’s) ended his Heavyweight title defense last night with an emphatic counter right hand knockout, stopping a tough, Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs) in the 9th round. Szpilka was carried out in a stretcher, and our prayers are with him and his family, hoping for a speedy recovery, which looked promising.


It is easy to see the physical attributes, such as athleticism and extraordinary power that Wilder displays. With that being said, we have seen many contenders and young champions, with little amateur experience use physical attributes to rise up the ranks only to fail when faced with polished competition.

Former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, both spoke during the telecast of improvements they have noticed in Wilder’s game and the need for continued progression to maintain his championship reign. In studying the fight film I feel Wilder’s subtle improvements should be recognized.

Head Movement/Level Changes

Wilder has often been criticized for keeping his chin in the air, making him sometimes easy to hit. It’s easy to understand why Wilder who stands 6’7 would want to use his height advantage, but with Wilder’s relaxed guard, standing straight up can be a recipe for disaster. Wilder improved on this last night, by using steady head movement, keeping his chin tucked, bending at the knees at times, while jabbing making himself a harder target. Wilder maintained distance, while changing levels, being careful not to give up his reach and height advantage. Wilder also made Szpilka miss single jabs on the outside with excellent head movement.

Balance

I have often envisioned Wilder falling victim to a well time uppercut, because of his tendency to fall in while throwing combinations or his big right hand. Wilder religiously tends to give away his reach advantage, by lunging in to land big power shots. For the most part Wilder fought a more disciplined fight, only occasionally falling in, during the later rounds and throwing a couple wild haymakers early in the fight. With Wilder’s height advantage once he master’s the art of balance he will be a tough out for any Heavyweight.

Counter

Wilder showed the ability last night to use several counters. Wilder attempted and landed several catch and shoot counters, by standing in, blocking Szpilka attack and landing his own. Wilder also showed excellent timing, landing several check left hooks neutralizing his opponent’s right hand jab.

Wilder is still a young champion; and admittedly he has a lot to learn, but last night showed us all he has put in the work to improve. With an impending matchup with Alexander Povetkin, Wilder will need to continue his due diligence to remain unbeaten. I would like to see a more fluid motion, from Wilder transitioning from offense to defense. Wilder still appears to be thinking in the ring and not fighting and transitioning naturally. Wilder also has a tendency to pull straight back, with his hands in a wide guard. Wilder would be better suited with his athletic ability to move laterally when trying to avoid shots. If Wilder can clean up a few things, and continue to come in the ring in excellent physical condition, he could have a chance for a long championship reign. I look forward to seeing Wilder in the future, to look for and study his subtle improvements.


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