Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title reign will come full circle on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he takes on Bermane Stiverne. The bout, which can be seen on Showtime with the broadcast starting at 9 p.m. ET, will be a rematch of their fight from January 2015 in which Wilder (38-0-0, 37 KOs) took the belt off of Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) in a unanimous decision.
While Wilder was dominant in the fight, it remains the only time the champ hasn’t knocked out an opponent, so heading into his sixth title defense, there’s an air of unfinished business. However, there’s more that makes this bout intriguing. Wilder wasn’t supposed to fight Stiverne. He was supposed to go toe-to-toe with Luis Ortiz (27-0-0, 23 KOs) in a matchup of undefeated knockout artists that fell through when Ortiz failed a drug test.
It’s the second time Wilder has seen an opponent get pulled off of a fight for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, as his mandatory bout in Russia with Alexander Povetkin last year fell apart the same way. This time, Stiverne was ready to step into Ortiz’s place, however, and Wilder will get his second bout of the year (and second bout since tearing his biceps and breaking his hand against Chris Arreola).
This week, Wilder spoke with UPROXX Sports about coming back from injury, taking care of unfinished business with Stiverne, the frustration of seeing opponents fail drug tests, a potential unification bout with Anthony Joshua, why he’s gotten into fashion, his prediction for when Stiverne goes down, and more.
How did camp go and how are you feeling heading into Saturday night?
Everything is going well, man. I’m doing good. I’m feeling great, I can’t wait for Saturday night. It can’t come any sooner. I woke up this morning thinking it was Wednesday. It’s only Tuesday.
What is it like for you the week of a fight? You always seem so eager to be in the ring. How do you kind of calm yourself and make sure that you’re taking the proper steps the week before to get ready and stay patient?