Omar Figueroa Jr. had to feel the nerves coursing through him again. It was a welcome greeting, that tingly pinch in his legs and arms. It was his body’s way of telling “El Panterita” he was ready to go—that the 19-month layoff was over and his passion for boxing was fully reignited.
As the rounds went by, Deontay Wilder waited like a lion in the grass watching a herd of gazelle, anticipating the right time to strike against Artur Szpilka.
He didn’t even shoot his target a glance upon shooting his right hand. “I didn’t have to look at him,” Deontay Wilder explains, reflecting on the inevitability of flesh meeting canvas. “I knew he was going down.”
Everybody heard that “Pin” drop.
There has never been a French or a Mexican heavyweight champion, a drought prolonged in 2015 by the man on the other end of the phone, his voice as emphatic as the sound of one of his punches landing home. Now, Deontay Wilder looks to start the new year by denying yet another country its shot at boxing history. Poland, you’re up.
On paper, what jumps out is the considerable height and reach advantages Deontay Wilder brings to his heavyweight title defense against challenger Artur Szpilka.
He broke his hand and another man at once, the damage begetting more damage still.