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Deontay Wilder: I’m looking forward to testing my right hand on Szpilka’s face

Deontay WilderBy Scott Gilfoid: There is only one week to go before WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (35-0, 34 Kos) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Poland’s Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) on January 16 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Wilder says his right that he fractured a year ago against Bermane Stiverne is finally healed. Wilder hasn’t been able to punch with the kind of monstrous power that he previously did due to the slow healing for his broken right hand. Wilder, 30, says he is looking forward to testing his right hand on the face of the 26-year-old Szpilka on Saturday night in their bout on Showtime Boxing.

This is an important fight for Wilder on many levels. First off, he needs a win over Szpilka to get to a potential unification fight against IBO/WBA/WBO champion Tyson Fury in 2016. That fight may or may not happen this year, but there’s a good chance that it will because Fury seems to really want the fight. But if Wilder can’t get past Szpilka, then he can forget about a big payday against Fury.

Wilder also needs a victory over Szpilka so that he can defend his title against his mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. That’s a fight that some boxing fans believe that Wilder will lose. Well, if Wilder can’t beat Szpilka then he won’t have the opportunity to prove the fans wrong by showing them his immense talent by going out there and whipping the 36-year-old Povetkin the same way that Wladimir Klitschko did in 2013.

This is going to be a really interesting to see how Deontay’s right hand does now that he’s got full use of it. Before Deontay injured his hand against Stiverne, he had a record of 32-0, with 32 knockouts. The hand injury likely ruined Wilder’s chances of keeping his perfect knockout record intact. Before his injury in the 4th round of the Stiverne fight, Deontay was nailing him with everything but the kitchen sink and it seemed almost certain that he was going to KO him. But once the injury occurred, Wilder wasn’t able to sit down on his right hand shots like he had been doing before he fractured his hand.

With a hand injury like the one Deontay suffered in the Stiverne fight, there is always a chance that it could happen against. For Deontay, he’s already hurt his right hand in the past, and there’s definitely the possibility he could re-injure it again on the bald-head of Szpilka. Deontay will need to be ready to use his left hand to do most of the work for him if he hurts his right again. The good news is that Deontay has decent punching power with his left, and he’s got a great jab that he can use to compensate if he hurts his right. If Wilder hurts his hand punching Szpilka with maximum power, it’ll be hard to imagine him being able to take that shot without dropping for the 10 count. Wilder will need to throw with tremendous power for him to hurt his right hand again, and I don’t think Szpilka is going to be handle that power.

The southpaw Szpilka has a pretty good left hand that he’s used to score many knockouts during his eight year pro career. Szpilka has knocked out three out of his last four opponents he’s faced, and that kind of tells you the type of power that the 6’3″ Szpilka possesses. He’s a very solid puncher and is capable of knocking out anyone in the division if he’s allowed to land enough of his power shots clean.

Recently, Szpilka has knocked out Yasmany Consuegra, Manuel Quezada and Ty Cobb. Granted, those are no name fighters that would likely fold even if lesser guys than Szpilka fought them, but it still shows that he’s got excellent power. I rate Szpilka as a better overall puncher than past Wilder opponents like Eric Molina, Malik Scott and Johann Duhaupas. Stiverne is obviously a better puncher than Szpilka with either hand, but Szpilka has better size than Stiverne and could be more of a threat to Deontay if he can trap him against the ropes. It’s going to be difficult for Szpilka to trap Wilder unless the talented American chooses to back up against the ropes on his own accord. In that case, Szpilka will need to take advantage of the situation by emptying out his arsenal as fast as he can before Deontay moves away.


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