Heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder plans to take out his anger and frustration on mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne.
“Stiverne asked for it, so he’s going to get it,” Wilder said Thursday. “Whatever happens, happens. Ask and you shall receive. I’m relieved to be getting my mandatory out of the way. At least now I won’t have to deal with that down the road.”
Wilder was supposed to defend his title against Cuban banger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz on Nov. 4 in the main event of a Showtime-televised tripleheader at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. However, Ortiz was dumped from the fight for coming up positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Sept. 22.
The results were disclosed last Thursday and the WBC ruled Ortiz out of the fight on Wednesday.
So in stepped Stiverne, the former titlist from whom Wilder took the belt by one-sided decision in January 2015. Stiverne was scheduled to face former title challenger Dominic Breazeale on the Nov. 4 undercard as part of a deal his camp made with Wilder to step aside, allowing Wilder to fight Ortiz before the mandatory bout against Stiverne.
“Stiverne will pay for Luis Ortiz screwing up,” Wilder said.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), 31, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was desperate to face a dangerous contender such as Ortiz to quell the intense criticism Wilder has taken for fighting such a soft schedule through his first five title defenses. A dangerous bout against Alexander Povetkin last year was canceled when Povetkin also failed a random pre-fight VADA test for a banned substance.
Once Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) was dropped from the Nov. 4 fight, Wilder had no choice but to again face Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), who will turn 39 a few days before the fight, if he wanted to keep his belt.
Stiverne is the only opponent to last the distance with Wilder, who is motivated to knock him out this time.
“In the first fight, I broke my hand in the third round, and I still dominated,” said Wilder, who has a history of chronic hand problems. “That was a lot of the reason why it went the distance. This time it’s a different day, different time and different fight. This time it won’t end well for him.”
Wilder’s goal is take care of Stiverne and ultimately unify the division, which he hopes means fights against unified titleholder Anthony Joshua and titleholder Joseph Parker.
“Despite all of these obstacles that are thrown in my path, it still will not stop me from reaching my ultimate goal, which is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,” Wilder said.
Showtime aired the first Wilder-Stiverne fight but was not interested in putting on the rematch of such a one-sided fight for which there is no public demand. However, given the circumstances, Showtime announced Thursday that it will televise the bout as part of a tripleheader beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
In the co-feature, former welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs), risking his position as the mandatory challenger for unified titlist Keith Thurman, will face Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round fight, and Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) and Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) will meet for the junior welterweight world title recently vacated by unified world champion Terence Crawford.
After the first fight with Wilder, Stiverne was hospitalized at University Medical Center in Las Vegas for severe dehydration and muscle damage, which he said dramatically impacted his performance in what was his first title defense. Since that loss, Stiverne has fought only once, a much tougher than expected decision win against journeyman Derric Rossy, who knocked him down in the November 2015 bout, though Stiverne had a title eliminator against Povetkin scheduled for December that was canceled when Povetkin again failed a random pre-fight VADA test.
Now Stiverne has the rematch he has wanted with Wilder and he is excited about it.
“I am ready, willing and able to seize back my title from Wilder,” Stiverne said. “We all know that Wilder dodged a bullet in the first fight, but not this time. It was my fault, but I learn from my mistakes. On Nov. 4, Wilder will feel my pain.”
Promoter Lou DiBella would have preferred to put on Wilder against Ortiz, but he is also rolling with the punches of the late change.
“The show must go on, as they say, and Deontay Wilder still plans to put on a show for New York City,” DiBella said. “Considering Stiverne’s status as mandatory challenger, he was always going to be a roadblock in Deontay’s quest for heavyweight unification. Now it’s time to see if Deontay can clear that roadblock and continue on his path to becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion and the most recognizable and dominant force in boxing.”