After retaining his heavyweight title with a fifth-round KO of Gerald Washington last Saturday night, Deontay Wilder has been ordered by the WBC to defend his belt against Bermane Stiverne.
Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KO’s) originally defeated Bermaine Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KO’s) by unanimous decision back in January 2015 to win the WBC strap, and has defended it with five straight KOs. Stiverne, the 38 year-old slugger from Haiti, has been inactive since 2015, when he fought journeyman Derric Rossy. Stiverne was floored in round one, but eventually would recover to earn a unanimous decision in the 10-round contest.
After Wilder’s victory last Saturday, he called out WBO Champion Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs). The 25-year old New Zealand native will defend his belt on May 6 in Auckland against Hughie Fury, cousin of former unified heavyweight champ Tyson Fury.
Should Parker and Wilder win their respective bouts, the big question will be figuring out where this unification fight would take place. “The Bronze Bomber” has been adamant about defending his title in his home state of Alabama, with four of his last five bouts taking place in Birmingham.
As for Parker, he trains in Las Vegas, but nearly all of his fights have taken place in New Zealand, save for one fight over in nearby Samoa in early 2016. Wilder stated that he would be open to fighting in New Zealand, but I would expect that both camps would look to compromise and host this fight in Vegas, which hasn’t seen a Heavyweight Unification Title contest since Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield II way in 1999.
Either way, the Heavyweight division is slowly making it’s way back towards the top of the Boxing chain and we’ll have to stay tuned to see what materializes next.