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Deontay Wilder to defend WBC title in “Sweet Home” Alabama
The newly crowned and undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs)is scheduled to make his first defense of his title in his home state on Saturday, June 13, at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham, AL against Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KOs).
SHOWTIME will televise beginning at 9 p.m./ET/6 p.m. PT.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to defend my heavyweight championship in my home state,” Wilder said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. It was one of my dreams to win a world title. This was my other dream to be able to defend it before all my fans in Alabama. I can’t wait until fight night to step into the ring and see the whole state coming out to support me.”
In January, Wilder became the first American to win a world heavyweight title in eight years. Wilder, who never boxed more than four rounds as a professional fighter, out-boxed Bermaine Stiverne through twelve rounds and looked really good.
By becoming the first American heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs who last held the WBO heavyweight championship. As well as, becoming the first undefeated American to win a heavyweight title since Michael Moorer defeated Evander Holyfield for the unified WBA/IBF heavyweight titles in 1994.
Like Stiverne did against Wilder, both Briggs and Moorer lost it in their first title defense. Molina is hopeful that he can pull off an upset against Wilder to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion.
“I remember just a few months ago watching Deontay get ready for the biggest fight of his life,” Molina said. “I thought to myself, ‘someday, that’ll be me.’ I stared with envy not knowing that a few months later I’d get my turn. Winning the heavyweight world championship is my dream. Just as it was Deontay’s dream, it’s mine now. He had his turn, though it will be short-lived. I will become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion. Guaranteed! So, champ, come prepared for war. I’m coming to kick some ass.”
Although he has two professional defeats, Molina , –, Weslaco, Texas, is tough fighter. At 6’ 5,” the hard-hitting southpaw can punch, as he has won his last five fights. But Molina doesn’t possess the talent Wilder has.
Wilder has only been boxing since age 21 and what he has done in the last – years is relatively impressive. Wilder has more professional fights than an amateur experience, which is unheard of. Wilder represented the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics and won a bronze medal. He is the last U.S. Olympian to win an Olympic medal, as team U.S.A. was shutout in the 2012 London games.
Wilder can be a significant player in the heavyweight division. America has a heavyweight champion and a new face that may (I said may) challenge unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who at age 38, continues to get better as an excellent boxer and one of the most devastating punchers in the history of boxing.
In the last decade, Wladimir and his older brother Vitali Klitschko both dominated the heavyweight division. Together they simultaneously held the IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO/RING Magazine and WBC titles before Vitali retired and vacated the WBC belt.
Wladimir appears to be headed straight toward a summer title defense against WBO mandatory challenger Tyson Fury, who at 6 ‘8,” 270 pounds is a very attractive opponent for the champion.
As Wilder continues to build his name as America’s newest and only heavyweight champion, it remains to be seen whether he will fight Klitschko down the road. Until then, watch and enjoy.