Deontay Wilder told them to get the ambulance ready for his opponent on Saturday night. And the heavyweight champion made good on his promise by obliterating Bermaine Stiverne in the first round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
It was a savage assault by Wilder, who rectified the one minor blemish on his knockout streak as Stiverne was the only person to go the distance with Wilder when they met in 2015. But “The Bronze Bomber” fixed that and retained his WBC title with an absolutely vicious throttling of Stiverne.
There was a lot of frustration that Wilder needed to take out on his opponent as the champion watched marquee fights with two opponents fall through over the past year. Both Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin failed drug tests prior to facing Wilder. With Ortiz’s failed test coming just a month ago, the WBC made Stiverne — who hadn’t fought in two years — the mandatory.
It wasn’t a fight many wanted to see considering that Wilder won a one-sided decision when they met in January of 2015. But this finish was violently definitive and Wilder explained his frustrations afterward.
“So much frustration, it just seemed like my career, it’s been crazy … so many guys using PEDs,” Wilder said. “I know I am the best but I wanna prove I am the best. One champion, one face, one name, he goes by Deontay Wilder.”
It didn’t take long for Wilder to impose his will. After a minute where neither fighter did much, Wilder thumped his chest, pressed forward and cut loose a right hand that sent Stiverne to the canvas. Although he would rise, Stiverne was met with a second right hand that put him on the seat of his pants. It was elementary at that point. But with the clock ticking, the 32-year-old left no doubts as a four-punch combination separated Stiverne from his senses and the referee called a halt to the fight at the 2:59 mark in the first round.
With the win, Wilder improves to 39-0 with his 38th knockout. And it didn’t take long for the WBC champion to bang the drum for a mega fight with undefeated WBA (Super), IBF and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“I’ve been waiting on that fight for a long time now. I declare war upon you,” Wilder said with remarks aimed at Joshua. “Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”
While there may be other opponents out there, Wilder only has his sights set on one fighter. And he made it very clear what he wants next.
“A king doesn’t chase the peasants. A king takes kings,” Wilder said. “I want Joshua. If he doesn’t give me the fight we have other plans. The world wants Joshua, the world wants Wilder, I want Joshua. Joshua, come and see me baby. No more dodging, no more excuses. Make the date, don’t wait.”