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Who Is Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder?

Rick Folstad

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Just who is Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and how come no one outside the great state of Alabama recognizes the name? I mean, Wilder should be starring in shaving commercials or serving as grand marshal at parades or endorsing sneakers. There should be playgrounds named after him and the governor of Alabama should declare a state holiday in Wilder’s honor. He should be smiling back at us from a Wheaties box if they still do that kind of thing.

It’s not Wilder’s fault he doesn’t draw a big crowd when he walks down Broadway. After all, he’s the WBC heavyweight champion of the world and today, that’s like being the mayor of Sheboygan. Everybody in town knows who you are. Just don’t leave the city limits.

I always said what the fight game needs in this part of the world is another heavyweight champion who was also an American citizen. Mike Tyson was pretty good, being from Brooklyn and all. He got people talking about the fight game in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Sure, he had some control issues, but we have a tendency to overlook bad behavior when it’s accompanied by athletic greatness. And if you knock everyone out in your division by the time you’re 20, that’s greatness. People are going to notice you and talk about you, bad attitude and all.

Or at least they used to.

That brings us back to Wilder, who defends his WBC title Saturday on SHOWTIME from Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. The undefeated Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs) faces Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (23-2, 17 KOs) of Raymondville, Texas in a rare, world heavyweight championship fight right here at home. It’s nice to have a heavyweight title fight in a city we can spell, pronounce, find on a map and get to by car or bus.

Why fight in Alabama? Well, Wilder is from Tuscaloosa. He wants to be close to home for this fight, share it with the neighborhood kids. Let the guys at Budweiser and IHOP go to the fight ad cheer him on. Besides, if you don’t count the University of Alabama football team, there isn’t a lot of professional sports going on in the state.

What’s good about Wilder is, he’s Mike Tyson in the ring, but he’s Stuart Smalley outside it.

On his way to the top of the heavyweight division, he worked at IHOP, Red Lobster and Budweiser after dropping out of college to help pay his daughter’s medical expenses.

“The most interesting job was as a delivery driver for Budweiser,” Wilder said in a press release listing 10 things you should know about heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. “I was still an amateur boxer. I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning and I had to lift multiple amounts of beer. They probably put 1,000 cases of beer on my truck. I considered that a morning workout.”

Along with financially supporting a gym for kids in Coffeyville, Alabama, and teaching them how to box in his spare time, he also wrote a children’s book about winning the heavyweight title.

“It’s more of an inspirational book to let kids know that you have to work hard for whatever you want and you can’t give up,” he said. “Don’t let peer pressure stop you from accomplishing your goals. I probably will write another children’s book because I love kids and I love being a father.”

Being heavyweight champion of the world isn’t too bad either. He won the WBC title on Jan. 17 with a one-sided decision over Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

How come there aren’t any statues of this guy? His picture should be on 10 dollar bills. He should be chosen “Man of the Year.” Everywhere.

“We’re going to make history (Saturday) by having the first title fight of any division in the state of Alabama,” Wilder said. “And that’s a pleasure and definitely an honor to me.”

That’s who Deontay Wilder is.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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