The heavyweights have been the prime division in the sport of boxing. Throughout the years it has produced some of the best fighters we have ever seen. Names like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holifield, and Lenox Lewis are synonymous to the heavy weight division. With weights over two hundred pounds and heights over six feet tall, it has been the most exciting spectacle in the sport. We have seen some crazy knockouts and plenty of drama throughout the years. One of the most memorable pictures is where Mike Tyson was wearing a crown after becoming the youngest heavyweight champion of all time.
For the past ten years, Wladimir Klitschko has been the king in the division. During his ten year run the division had been heavily criticized for the lack of competition. Most of this has been because Klitschko mostly fought in Germany. There hasn’t been an American heavyweight champion for most of the duration of his reign as champion. In 2015, two things changed in the division in a dramatical fashion. First, Deontay Wilder dethroned Betnane Stiverne to become the first American champion in quite some time. Second, Klitschko took a decision loss to Tyson Fury in one of the most awkward and boring fights in recent memory.
This past Saturday night marked a year since Wilder won his heavyweight title. His challenger was the tough and rugged Artur Szpilka. Szpilka recently moved to Texas to train with world class trainer Ronnie Shields. Shields was worried about a couple things in this fight. With the height and reach advantage in Wilder’s favor, Shields wanted Szpilka to throw combinations and back Wilder up. He also wanted him to stay away from Wilder’s big right hand. Szpilka had some success with this strategy and pushed the fight into the ninth. It was then where Wilder, who was backing up into the corner, landed a right hand flush on the chin of Szpilka. The punch was so thunderous that Szpilka was knocked out clean out on his feet. In what appeared to be a scary moment, Szpilka laid motionless on the canvas with his eyes closed for a short period. Szpilka did wake up on his own but was taken out on a stretcher. It was reported that this was only for precautionary reasons.
There were many former and current heavyweight champs in attendance. Many of them had a lot of criticism about Wilder leading up to the fight. One of them was the current heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. Fury came into the ring during the post fight interview and engaged in a WWE style rant. Wilder was unfazed but expressed interest in a possible matchup in the future.
At the end of the day, Fury has to get past Klitschko first in their rematch. Say what you want about the man who goes by the moniker “Bronze Bomber,”but he made a statement in front of all the people who critzied him. It was an important victory for the future of the heavyweight division.