Bermane Stiverne: The First Haitian World Heavyweight Champion

Updated: May 12, 2014

Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) became the first Haitian in history to win a world heavyweight championship by easily preventing Chris Arreola (36-4, 31 KOs) from become the first Mexican-American world heavyweight champion. Stiverne knocked Arreola out in the sixth round to claim the WBC heavyweight title vacated by Vitali Klitschko earlier this year.

Stiverne’s victory breaks up the Klitschko brother’s grasp of the world heavyweight championship, as both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko held the WBC/IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO and Ring Magazine world heavyweight championships collectively for years. With Vitali running for political office in his native Ukraine, Stiverne’s winning the WBC heavyweight title may open the door for Wladimir making a big to add the WBC title.

Stiverne waited a long time for the chance to fight for a heavyweight title. In June 2011, Stiverne stopped former IBF heavyweight title contender Ray Austin in the first of two WBC heavyweight title eliminator bouts. Then the WBC mandated Stiverne to fight Arreola in a second WBC title eliminator last year.  Stiverne busted Arreola’s nose and mouth in their first fight, as Arreola wanted nothing to do with Stiverne. Arreola settled for a lopsided decision loss. 

When the WBC announced that Stiverne would finally fight for the WBC title against Arreola in a rematch, he knew he would beat Arreola again whether he was in the best shape of his life (or not). Prior to the rematch, Stiverne made it clear to Arreola during the final press conference exactly what his intentions were and   

“I don’t really have much to say except if anyone cut me with a knife to see what’s inside of me they would see that I’m not here to knock Chris out. I am here to chop is head off. That’s what we do where I came from. You don’t break my will.”

Stiverne, in the biggest fight of his career, fought as if there was no tomorrow. Stiverne took full advantage of the one chance he had to fight for a heavyweight title by abusing the same guy he beat in is previous fight.

Arreola came out boxing behind his left jab. Stiverne moved backward toward the ropes for most of the fight looking to time Arreola with something big. In the fifth round, Stiverne noticeably changed directions moving left to right behind his left jab. Stiverne was inviting Arreola to come straight in. Stiverne ducked and dodged some big shots from Arreola.

In the sixth round, Stiverne cracked Arreola that sent him crumbling onto the canvas. Arreola was out, but managed to return to his feet. Stiverne scored a second knock down so brutal that beating Stiverne administered forced Arreola, as big and rugged as he is, to literally turn away. Arreola, who is as tough as they come with his beer-drinking, macho attitude, and fight skills, looked as if he didn’t belong in the ring with Stiverne.

The aftermath: according to the WBC rules, the winner of a vacant WBC championship in any weight class must make two consecutive mandatory defenses in successive fights. Since Stiverne won the vacant WBC heavyweight title, he must make his first defense against undefeated 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist, No. 1-ranked Deontay ‘The Brown Bomber’ Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs). The winner of Stiverne-Wilder must make a second mandatory title defense against the highest-ranked contender as well, No. 2-ranked Bryant Jennings.

There are reports that Wladimir Klitschko may want to unify the word heavyweight titles in big unification fight here in the U.S. against Stiverne, which would be a tremendous fight.  


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