NEW YORK (AP) – Deontay Wilder knocked out the only man who’d ever gone the distance with him, sending Berman Stiverne to the canvas three times in the opening round to defend his WBC heavyweight title Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Wilder entered the ring wearing a gold cape and mask. He looked all business, and was sporting a scowl for the 2 minutes, 59 seconds the fight lasted. After the second knockdown, he yelled at Stiverne’s corner to stop the fight.
Instead, the undefeated “Alabama Slammer” did it himself, pummeling Stiverne before finishing him off.
Wilder won the belt from Stiverne in 2015 in a 12-round decision. He repeatedly insisted Stiverne would go down and out early in this one.
Wilder kept his word.
He is 39-0 with 38 knockouts.
The 32-year-old Wilder jabbed through much of the first round while Stiverne, who hadn’t fought in two years, moved slowly and cautiously around the ring. Suddenly, Wilder lashed out with a huge right that felled Stiverne (25-3-1).
Already, Wilder was celebrating, but Stiverne got up. Unwisely, it turned out, because another big right as part of a flurry of punches sent the 38-year-old challenger back down.
At that point, Wilder climbed atop the ropes in a neutral corner, shouting at Stiverne’s trainer to end things.
When they didn’t, another right and then a mammoth left hook sent down the challenger for the final time.
Wilder now can set his sights on something he has been promising throughout 2017: unifying the heavyweight belts.. He wants England’s Anthony Joshua, the WBA/IBF champ, sometime next year.
“One champion, one face, one name, he goes by Deontay Wilder,” he said.
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