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Deontay Wilder stops Artur Szpilka in 9th!

Deontay WilderBy Dan Ambrose: Fighting in front of a huge crowd of 12,668, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) scored a devastating 9th round knockout win over #8 WBC challenger Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs) to retain his WBC title in a close fight on Showtime Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Wilder timed Szpilka and connected with a huge right hand in the 9th round to knock Szpilka clean out. The punch flattened Szpilka, leaving him on his back on the canvas for a considerable amount of time. Szpilka had tried to throw a left hand at the same time Wilder threw his right. Wilder’s shot got there first and he knocked the Polish fighter senseless. Szpilka was taken out of the ring on a stretcher.

The fight was officially stopped at 2:24 of the 9th.

At the time of the stoppage, Deontay was ahead on the scorecards by the scores of 77-75, 78-74 and 78-74.

After the fight, IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury got inside the ring and trash talked Wilder briefly. Fury said “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere. I’ll best you, you bum!”

Wilder responded with “You’re just a phony. You know this is just an act. You’re not a real fighter. If you do step inside the ring, I promise you I will expose you. I would love to fight him next, but I’ve got a mandatory I’ve got to do. Make the date, Tyson. I promise you.”

A fight between Wilder and Fury would be a great match-up if it could take place next, but unfortunately they both have tough fights ahead of them. Wilder must defend against his #1 WBC mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin next. That fight is expected to take place in May or June. Fury has a rematch due against Wladimir Klitschko that will likely take place by June or July at the latest depending on the negotiations.

Deontay seemed pretty upset after the fight with the way that Szpilka was so badly hurt. The knockout clearly bothered Deontay, as Szpilka was taken out of the ring on a stretcher. It was a really ugly knockout. You don’t like to see fighters get knocked out the way Szpilka was tonight. However, Szpilka was knocked down badly in his fight against Mike Mollo in the third round of their fight in 2013. Szpilka was able to get up from that knockdown and come back to score a knockout of Mollo in the 5th. But there was no getting up in tonight’s fight, as Szpilka was very hurt and not moving after getting dropped.

Szpilka was cut over the eight eye in the 8th round. His nose was bloodied as well.

This was not a great performance from Deontay tonight. Until he scored the knockout in the 9th, the fight appeared to be very close with many rounds that could have gone either way. Szpilka was the busier guy in many of the rounds. Wilder started to take control over the fight from the 4th round. Before that, it looked like Szpilka had controlled most of the first three rounds. Wilder fought reasonably well from rounds 4 through 6. However, Szpilka landed some nice shots in rounds 7 and 8. I had those rounds going to Szpilka.

Going into the 9th, it looked like Szpilka was on the verge of taking command of the fight with his aggressiveness, his jab and nice combination punching. Things suddenly changed in the 9th when Wilder caught Szpilka with a tremendous right hand to the jaw that knocked him clean out. Wilder got his whole body into that punch, and Szpilka never saw it coming. It was too much power behind the shot and there was no way that Szpilka was going to be able to take the blow. Even if Szpilka had seen the punch, which he didn’t, he would have likely been knocked out because it was just a huge punch.

What was really strange about the Wilder-Szpilka fight was how bad Wilder looked in many of the rounds. It was a fight that was up for grabs in the end. It was Wilder’s tremendous punching power that in the end was what could have saved him. I think he would have won the fight based on his lead, but Szpilka was fighting well at the time that the fight was halted. He might have fought well enough to win the final four rounds to get a narrow victory or a draw.

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