Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder held a media conference call on Thursday to discuss their upcoming encounter. Stiverne will defend his WBC heavyweight title against undefeated knockout artist Wilder on January 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The highly anticipated bout not only pits together two of the sport’s hardest hitting fighters, but also returns that old familiar face Don King to the pro boxing landscape.
“This is a fight to bring boxing and the country back to where it should be and being able to bring the glory back to the heavyweight division, which has been lacking for quite a while now,” Stiverne’s promoter Don King said. “I feel that Bermane will give Wilder a lesson after they meet in their heavyweight fight for peace here at the MGM Grand.”
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) will enter the ring having stopped Chris Arreola in the sixth-round of their May 2014 rematch for the vacant WBC heavyweight title.
The Haitian-born Stiverne had defeated Arreola in their previous encounter April 2013 by a unanimous decision in an action-packed 12 rounder.
“Defending my title in Vegas at the MGM Grand is a dream,” Stiverne said. “Nobody will beat me. This belt isn’t going anywhere. January 17 is going to be a short night and it’s going to be painful.”
Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) comes to January’s fight with an unblemished record. Wilder’s previous fight, versus a subpar Jason Gavern, was his longest-lasting bout, making it only to the end of the fourth round before Gavern quit on the stool.
Wilder’s prior fight, against veteran Malik Scott ended with a kayo 96 seconds into the fight.
“I don’t get paid for overtime so why go all the way,” Wilder said. “That’s why I finish things early in the ring.”
Fans of The Bronze Bomber are proud of their man’s 100% knockout ratio, with 18 of his kayos occurring in the first round. But observers will also point out a record built against low-level opposition.
“I don’t want anyone to make excuses to me,” Wilder said. “I don’t want people to discredit me anymore. But the time has come to change that. I have heard nothing but excuses for my 32 wins by KO and when I get 33, I don’t want to hear anything about it.”
Stiverne, who has earned a 12-0-1 unbeaten streak in his last 13 fights, with 10 of those wins coming by stoppage, comes in the fight hungry and will finally present a sure test for the Tuscaloosa native.
“The belt is great, it’s meant a lot but I’m still hungry,” said Stiverne. ”I still want more.”
On the undercard, Mexican Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) will defend his IBF bantamweight title.
The fight will be broadcast by Showtime (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).