WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder makes the next defence of his world title in the early hours of Sunday morning (GMT) when he faces former foe and champion Bermane Stiverne at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Along with the heavyweight title main event, a number of names are making returns in notable fights with another world title bout slated on the card.
The main event features Deontay Wilder taking on somewhat questionable mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne. Wilder (38-0) faced Stiverne in 2015 to claim the world title which he holds at present, with Stiverne being the only fighter to have taken Wilder the distance so far in his professional career. Wilder boxed to a comfortable points verdict on the night in the Vegas desert, however Stiverne is aiming to put their previous encounter to bed by defeating the title holder.
Much fall out followed after the pair’s previous bout with Stiverne stating that he was unwell and dehydrated which forced the then champion to seek hospital assistance. The former champion has been eager for a rematch for almost three years since and gets his opportunity to right the wrongs in his mind.
Deontay Wilder on the other hand and his title reign since his bout with Stiverne has been somewhat controversial. Multiple fights falling through with anti-doping violations on the behalf of scheduled opponents. Wilder had been scheduled to face Luis Ortiz however once again the curse of anti-doping failures struck with Ortiz failing a random test.
Deontay Wilder can consider himself a tad unlucky that the calibre of opposition he has faced has not been renown by a casual audience, however will be aiming to secure a clash with Anthony Joshua in 2018, with anticipation for the clash between the world champions growing. However various political factors needs to be resolved along with ego’s of all parties, particular Wilder and his handlers who are over-stating their worth in the market.
Shawn Porter will contest a WBC welterweight title eliminator against Adrian Granados, with the added bauble of the WBC silver welterweight title up for grabs. The winner wll make themselves mandatory challenger to Keith Thurman, who holds the WBC title. Porter will be seeking victory to set up a rematch with Thurman, with the pair meeting last year in June which ended up being a fight of the year contender.
Porter who is a former IBF world title holder, is arguably the most accomplished fighter in the division without a world title to his name at this moment in time. Porter will be seen as a comfortable favourtie when he faces Granados, who is more accustomed to fighting at 140lbs.
Sergey Lipinets (12-0) will fight for his maiden world title against Akihiro Kondo, the pair will face off for the IBF light-welterweight title. Lipinets was mandatory challenger to former title holder Terence Crawford who held all the belts at 140lbs, however Crawford had decided that his future was to decided in the welterweight division, who was recently made mandatory challenger to Jeff Horn the WBO world title holder at 147lbs.
Lipinets is one of the rising fighters coming up through the 140lb ranks, an highly decorated amateur from Russia. However his future in the 140lb ranks could soon come under question, with quotes from his management saying that they will be targeting a move to welterweight for more viable opportunities. His opponent Kondo has a record of 29 wins to 6 defeats and boxes for the first time overseas outside of his native Japan.
Dominic Breazeale will contest an WBC heavyweight eliminator when he faces Eric Molina, a former world title challenger. Breazeale has been predicted to come through this bout as he targets a second world title opportunity following his defeat to Anthony Joshua in 2016.
Molina is a former world title challenger to both Deontay Wilder & Anthony Joshua, with both men defeating Molina inside the distance with somewhat relative ease, more so in the case of Joshua in comparison to Wilder.
The action will be broadcast live in the United States via Showtime and in the UK and Ireland via Sky Sports.