• Steve Bunce

Ferocious Wilder has eyes on Fury-Chisora

Steve Bunce March 18, 2014
Deontay Wilder knocked out Malik Scott in the first round of their WBC heavyweight title eliminator © AP

Deontay Wilder is ready.

It took him 96 seconds to become a legitimate heavyweight contender on Saturday night in Puerto Rico.

His first punch, a looping left hook, connected behind genuine contender Malik Scott's right ear and he started to drop before Wilder's second punch, a straight right through the guard, missed the target. Scott was down and out - his right leg twitching - and he failed to even try to climb up.

There was a lot of screaming online and, shockingly, ringside about the fight being 'fixed' and Scott taking a 'dive'. Rubbish, total rubbish and the big right that missed seems to the be the problem because most people never saw the initial left; Scott certainly didn't see the painful end coming but when he got up about 30 seconds later he still had no idea where he was.

Buncey's vaults

Nigel Benn beat Vincenzo Nardiello © AP
  • Nigel Benn decided not to visit Gerald McClellan in hospital. "I had no idea how his family would respond to me and I did not want his mother to slap me in the face," Benn told me in Tenerife at his training camp, a few weeks before his return to the ring.
  • Benn beat McClellan in a savage fight and they both ended up in the same hospital; Benn was discharged exhausted but McClellan had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the surface of his brain. "It could have been me. But I'm prepared to do it all again. That is what I do, I fight. I go in there and I have it with anybody," Benn insisted.
  • He was due back in the same ring, at the same venue to defend his world title against Italy's Vincenzo Nardiello. "I have no fears about the place, no ghosts. It is just another fight," Benn insisted, but he lost his cool when he was reminded of McClellan's medical condition. "I don't need to hear that sort of crap," he scowled.
  • He was, without doubt, on edge in Tenerife; the night the piece ran he stopped Nardiello. It was very emotional.

The left hook took away Scott's senses and he was helpless at that moment and that is all that counts. Scott, who had lost just once in 38 fights, was, it has to be said, not very impressive in the previous 96 seconds before he was ruled out. Wilder won for the 31st time and for the 31st time his opponent failed to last the distance. The statistics are even better; he has never been beyond four rounds and 18 of his victims have gone in less than one round.

"Right now boxing fans want a heavyweight that brings excitement and knockouts and is a guy with charisma," said Wilder. "I'm that guy and right now all the heavyweights are running scared of me and I don't blame them: I would not fight Deontay Wilder unless I had to - I know that I could knock me out with either hand!"

He can talk and smile and bang, that is for sure.

Before the 96-second fight there was a belief that Scott could survive a few rounds and then, perhaps, we would all find out what happens to Wilder after round four if a man is still standing and still throwing. Wilder insists that he will get even better when that happens, which seems unlikely. It will certainly be fun finding out because at about 16-stone and 6.7 he is an extreme athlete. In boxing, men like him invariably crumble when a fight goes deep into the danger zone.

"People said that all of Mike Tyson's early opponents were bums because he was knocking all them out. Is there something wrong with that?" continued Wilder. "I know people say the same about me and that is cool. I will just keep on doing what I do. Malik was supposed to go rounds with me. Is he a bum?"

Wilder won a bronze medal at the Beijing games in 2008 and has not put a foot wrong since then on either side of the ropes. He loves his church and he loves his knockouts in, it seems, just about equal measure. I have never heard him recite scripture but I have seen him bang out people up close and it is impressive.

I also think there is some relevancy to Mark Breland's wise words. Breland was a brilliant Olympic gold medalist in 1984, then an excellent world champion and now he trains Wilder.

"Deontay's only weakness is experience, which we're working on," he said. Breland is not a fool and I expect Kevin Johnson, perhaps modern boxing's biggest underachiever, to get the call soon.

The win in Puerto Rico was a final eliminator for the WBC title, which is currently vacant and will be fought over on May 10 by Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola. Wilder will get his chance this year against the winner but what he really wants is a fight with Tyson Fury. Wilder plans on being ringside on July 26 in Manchester when Fury and Dereck Chisora fight.

"Fury is one of my favourite fighters because he brings excitement," claimed Wilder. "He is also disrespectful to the sport and a sorry excuse for a heavyweight. I can't wait to fight him and I know that he will not be scared."

Buncey's Boxing Podcast: Fury, Johnson, Galahad
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Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.