Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder promised a knockout, and he delivered on Saturday night before 10,924 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with a first-round annihilation of Bermane Stiverne to retain his WBC heavyweight world title for a sixth time.
Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KO’s), 39, a Haiti native based in Las Vegas, had been the only man to go the distance with Wilder, though he was thoroughly outboxed, in their Jan. 2015 bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The rematch was no contest as the American Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s), 32, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, dropped a gassed Stiverne three times in the first round before referee Arthur Mercante called a halt to the bout at 2:59.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Wilder was slated to fight former interim heavyweight world champion Luis Ortiz, but the Cuban tested positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothiazide, and hydrochlorothiazide, in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Sept 22, and was removed from the card following an investigation by the WBC.
Wilder also missed out on an opportunity to fight Alexander Povetkin when the Russian tested positive for meldonium nine days before a May 2016 mandatory title defense. The fight was ultimately canceled, and Wilder went on to stop Johann Duhaupas. Then, in February, Wilder’s slated title defense against Andrzej Wawrzyk was also slashed after the Pole failed a drug test. He was replaced by Gerald Washington, who was knocked out inside five rounds.
Following the final pre-fight news conference, an emotional Wilder, frustrated and at his final boiling point over the fight cancellations, went as far to say to Seconds Out “This is the funeral right here,” he said. “There’s just no casket yet.”
Stiverne, who was initially slated to fight Dominic Breazeale on the undercard before being moved up to the main event, was a dead man walking. He weighed-in at 254.75 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than the first fight, and offered little to no resistance, as he was quickly extinguished by Wilder.