Deontay Wilder Declares War on Anthony Joshua

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder minces no words as he demands a unification bout against British heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua.

Deontay Wilder Demands Heavyweight Unification against Anthony Joshua. (Showtime Sports)

Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder declared war on British counterpart Anthony Joshua Saturday night after a three-knockdown, first-round stoppage of Bermane Stiverne at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

“To Anthony Joshua, I want to unify. I declare war. This is not a battle. This is war. Are you up to the challenge? When I beat [you,] I’m not looking for a [rematch] because it’s going to be so brutal the first time he’ll say, ‘enough.’ It’s going to be, ‘No Mas,’” said Wilder, standing at a podium in a knee-length Chinchilla fur coat during the post-fight press conference. 

“Anthony Joshua, you can only run, deny me and make excuses for so long, but I will catch you. I got rid of my mandatory, and he’s gotten rid of his mandatory. You don’t have anybody in front of you but me. I’ll come to [to England] and go anywhere in the world to fight you, next. Let’s give the people what they want. I want to unify the division. Just make the date and I’ll be there.”

The 6-foot-7 Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) earned his sixth straight stoppage in as many title defenses since dethroning Stiverne by unanimous decision on Jan. 17, 2015.

The 6-foot-6 Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) scored a 10-round TKO victory over Carlos Takam two weeks ago, setting up a collision course with Wilder in a mega heavyweight unification match.

“Deontay’s got the best jab and hardest knockout power in the heavyweight division, he’s the most dangerous heavyweight in the world, and he will put Anthony Joshua to sleep the same way he just put Bermane Stiverne to sleep. Deontay Wilder’s Anthony Joshua’s worst nightmare,’’ said Promoter Lou DiBella.

“Coming into this [Stiverne] fight, I was of the opinion that it would be best if Anthony Joshua fought in the U.S. at least once before a big Deontay Wilder fight here,” said Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports’ executive vice president and general manager.

“After this statement that Deontay Wilder made tonight, I think the best outcome is to go straight to that fight. It’s not going to get any more ripe than right now. Anthony Joshua’s just sold 175,000 seats in his last two fights. Deontay Wilder just made a massive statement to the division. The fight’s not going to get any more ready than it is now. I’m in favor of making it immediately.”  

I’ll go anywhere in the world to fight you, next. Let’s give the people what they want. I want to unify the division. Just make the date and I’ll be there.” WBC Heavyweight World Champ Deontay Wilder to British titleholder Anthony Joshua

The 32-year-old Wilder compared Joshua’s reluctance to fight him to that of Riddick Bowe’s refusal to fight Lennox Lewis back in the early 1990s. Bowe was the undisputed champion before vacating the WBC title rather than embrace a mandate to face Lewis in December 1992. Bowe stripped himself by tossing the belt into a trashcan during a news conference in London.

“It seems like this has become the Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis effect,” said Wilder. “If so, then he needs to go ahead and throw those belts in the trash can.”

Wilder said if Joshua isn’t ready to go immediate he would be willing to face Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), who stopped Eric Molina in eighth round on the undercard at Barclays on Saturday.

"This a personal issue, so I can’t wait to put my hands on Breazeale," said Wilder, referring to an altercation between the two in a Birmingham hotel following a card there in February. “Due to the personal situation we have outside of the ring, I would punish Breazeale worse than I did Stiverne."

Fighting before a crowd of 10,924 at Barclays on Saturday, Wilder entered the ring with malicious intentions toward Stiverne. He dropped Stiverne to his backside with a jab and a searing right hand that split the challenger’s guard and found his chin. A four-punch combination that ended with a clubbing right, caused the second knockdown, toppling Stiverne backward and into the ropes of a neural corner.

Wilder stormed in for the finish, ending a five-punch sequence with a right to the chin and a left to the jaw. Stiverne crumpled to his back, legs folded beneath him and his head resting on the bottom rope.

Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. was briefly airborne on Wilder’s back while turning him away at the 2:59 mark as Stiverne tried to rise only to reach his knees and fall, face-first. Mercante helped Stiverne onto a stool.

“I’m so mean in the ring—a hungry lion starving for a year eating everything of his prey,” said Wilder, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “I’m scaring the heavyweights. I am the most feared. If I’m not I want somebody to prove me wrong and shut me up. Who has the guts?”

For a complete look at Wilder vs Stiverne, visit our fight page.

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