Having won three fights in 2015 to improve his perfect career record, Deontay Wilder continues to ascend the world boxing rankings. In his fight against Artur Szpilka on Saturday night at Barclays Center, the WBC champion is looking to prove that he deserves a shot at the sport’s top heavyweights.
Wilder is expected to defeat Szpilka, against whom he is a -800 favorite. The 30-year-old is looking for a dominant performance as he tries to make a name for himself as a top pound-for-pound boxer. In order for Wilder to secure a shot against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury, he needs to make Saturday’s fight a short one.
Before he won the WBC heavyweight title, Wilder made quick work of all his opponents, winning his first 32 fights with a knockout in the fourth round or earlier. Wilder’s toughest challenge came when he won the belt, defeating Bermane Stiverne in a unanimous decision. He has back-to-back wins over Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas, though he needed at least nine rounds to win each fight.
"I take pride in what I do and what I have," Wilder said at a press conference on Thursday. "I'm very honored to have the WBC belt. I even have the belt tattooed on my body. It's not going anywhere. But there are more belts that I want. It's going to be a long journey and a tough path to fulfill. But I'm that man.”
Having not shown the same knockout power against tougher competition, Wilder must be careful not to underestimate Szpilka. The Polish heavyweight has just one loss in 21 fights, recording 15 knockouts.
The two boxers weighed in on Friday after they nearly came to blows on Wednesday while promoting the fight.
Tale of the Tape
Deontay Wilder Artur Szpilka
Age: 30 26
Height: 6’7 6’3
Weight: 228.75 lbs. 233.25 lbs.
Reach: 84” 77”
Stance: Orthodox Southpaw
Record: 35-0 20-1
Start Time: 10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Showtime