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Deontay Wilder defends against Chris Arreola on 7/16 on Fox

Chris Arreola Deontay Wilder

By Allan Fox: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s next fight is now official for July 16 against Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs). Wilder will be fighting the 36-year-old Arreola at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. This is the voluntary defense Wilder is being given by the World Boxing Council after his previously scheduled opponent Alexander Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance. The tickets for the Wilder-Arreola fight will go on sale on Tuesday.

The Wilder-Arreola fight will be televised on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox and Fox Deportes. That will give the fight a wide audience, especially if it takes place during prime time with many casual boxing fans tuning in to see the United States’ only heavyweight champion. The start time is at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Arreola is getting a third chance at fighting for a world title after failing on his other two attempts against Bermane Stiverne in 2014 and Vitali Klitschko in 2009. Both defeats by Arreola were knockout losses that left him without the WBC title. This is Arreola’s third chance at winning the WBC title. It’s likely Arreola’s last shot if he doesn’t beat Wilder.

This is Arreola’s best shot at winning a title because Stiverne and Vitali both had sturdy chins, and they were able to take Arreola’s best shots in those fights. Wilder is more vulnerable to getting hurt than those two heavyweights were. If Arreola can get to Wilder with one of his big power shots early, there’s a good chance he’ll knock him out and take his WBC title. Wilder is by no means invincible as a champion. If Arreola can land one of his big power shots like he did against Seth Mitchell in 2013, he could take Wilder out quickly. Mitchell had come into his fight against Arreola with a reputation as having a shaky chin, and Arreola wasted no time in scoring a quick knockout in round one. Wilder’s chin might not be much better than Mitchell’s. It’s just harder to hit Wilder cleanly because of his 6’7″ height, long reach, and his mobility. There’s also the very real threat of Wilder hitting you back with one of his big right hands. Wilder doesn’t have a 97% KO percentage for nothing. He knocks guy out and does it quickly. Many of Wilder’s past opponents haven’t made it past the fourth round against him.

Wilder will have a giant seven-inch reach advantage over Arreola in this fight. It’s going to be up to Arreola to try and get past Wilder’s long reach so that he can get to him with one of his hard left hooks or right hands without getting caught with one of his right hands.

Arreola is just happy to be getting the world title shot against Wilder because he’s only won two fights in his last six bouts. Arreola is going through a really rough patch in his career lately. Getting a crack another world title has got to be an early Christmas present for Arreola. He still has a goal of becoming the first heavyweight champion. For Arreola to accomplish that goal, he’s going to need to show better defensive skills than he exhibited in the past in his losses to Klitschko and Stiverne. Those fighters were able to easily hit Arreola and wear him down to eventually get stoppages.

“I’m thankful to Deontay for this opportunity, he has proven a great deal by winning the heavyweight title and by defending it three times,” said Arreola.

Wilder’s manager Al Haymon and promoter Lou Dibella obviously selected Arreola because they believe he’s someone that will make it entertaining. You’ve got to believe they see Arreola as a guy that Wilder can beat. They wouldn’t put Wilder in with someone dangerous that they thought would take his WBC title from him like Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz or Kubrat Pulev. Those two heavyweights would give Wilder a lot of problems, as would Joseph Parker. That doesn’t mean Wilder couldn’t potentially beat them if he fought a smart fight or if he got to them before they could land their own bombs.

“I’m very excited to step into the ring with him, put on a great show, be victorious and make history by becoming the first Mexican heavyweight world champion,” said Arreola.

Live Stream: Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury II press conference

If Wilder gets past Arreola, he’ll need to defend against his mandatory challenger, be it Povetkin or someone else picked out by the World Boxing Council. If the WBC decides to remove Povetkin from his mandatory position for the WBC belt, then they could select the next highest ranked contender. In this case, it would be Stiverne, who Wilder already defeated last year in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in a hard fought bout. Wilder would likely welcome a fight against Stiverne because he would have a huge size advantage over him, and he always knows how to beat him.

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