Deontay Wilder puts the heavyweight division on notice ahead of 1/16 return vs. Artur Szpilka

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is ready to leave a lasting impression on the division (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)

Deontay Wilder Fukuda

By Chris Robinson

It’s hard to recall a recent heavyweight champion as charismatic as WBC champion Deontay Wilder has been.

Having captured the aforementioned WBC strap nearly a year ago after defeating Haiti’s Bermane Stiverne over 12 rounds, Wilder has since scored two successful stoppages, over Eric Molina in June and Johann Duhaupas in September, to raise his mark to 35-0 with 34 KO’s.

The Tuscaloosa native is presently lined up with a Jan. 16 return against Poland’s Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KO’s).

Much has changed in the heavyweight division this past year, including Wilder’s run, Tyson Fury upsetting long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in November, as well as the emergence of Cuba’s Luis Ortiz, who stopped Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings this past month in New York.

Still, for Wilder, he feels there is nobody cut like him in the heavyweight ranks.

“I’m just a different fighter than these guys in the heavyweight division,” said Wilder in a recent sit-down with Mark Kriegel.

“My athletic skills, the way I move in the ring, my speed, the power that I have, the awkward style that I have,” Wilder added. “Do I need to say more? These guys know I am very serious about this. Nobody wants to fight [me], they already know what the results will be.’’

Wilder is out to unify the division, and hopes to use the Szpilka fight as a springboard to greater things.

“Keep fighting, sooner or later celebrate,” said Wilder. “Keep fighting, keep winning, keep knocking guys out. Once you keep doing those things, you can’t be denied, no matter what. I think unifying the titles. Once you have that strong American heavyweight to unify the division, to hold all the titles, that’s when I feel true stardom will come. Once I unify the division, I think it’ll be a dramatic change.’’

Wilder faces Szpilka on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from the Barclays Center on Jan. 16. Check below for more of his one-on-one with Kriegel.

Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com

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