Hand injury to delay showdown between Stiverne and Wilder

Stephen Dunn

Bermane Stiverne's hand injury will push his title defense against Deontay Wilder to November or December.

Earlier this year, Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 knockouts) stopped Chris Arreola in 6 rounds to earn the WBC Heavyweight belt that Vitali Klitschko vacated. Though Vitali's brother Wladimir Klitschko would like to unite the four major heavyweight titles, the WBC named Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) as the mandatory challenger for Stiverne's belt. Wilder will have to wait for now, because Stiverne is recovering from a pinched nerve that he reportedly suffered against Arreola.

"When I went to get it X-rayed, the doctors told me that I shouldn’t hit anything with my hand, so I still train but I just don’t hit the bags. I should be good by the end of the year."

Wilder believes that there's another reason that the fight is being pushed back to November or December:

"I heard that he says that he has a hand injury…but I just think that he hasn’t been training and that he needs to get into shape and that that’s the excuse that he’s coming up with. I just think that he’s like one of those little kids in school who never really got attention," said Wilder, who saw the "same old" Stiverne against Arreola from his ringside seat at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.

"But now, he’s getting the most publicity that he’s ever gotten in his life. So he’s trying to hold on to the title for as long as he can and I don’t blame him. He’s got some popularity and he’s loving that. He don’t want to let it go because he knows that he has got a dangerous competitor in front of him for his first title defense, and that it could all be over for him."

Stiverne, who is promoted by Don King, responded to Wilder's accusations during an interview with Ring Magazine's Lem Saatterfield:

"What is there to say? He likes to entertain his fans and the people who follow him and I’m not into that. A little kid like he is, they’re just going to be a little kid. He keeps on making videos about calling me out," said Stiverne.

"But he knows how that works. It’s between my promoter and his promoter and we’ll let them make the fight happen. So let the kid be the kid and when the fight happens, I’ll be able to teach him a lesson and I will discipline the kid."

In the meantime, Wilder, who is promoted by Golden Boy and managed by Al Haymon, is looking to line up a stay-busy fight for September.

"Because of him not wanting to fight, I see that this can be a long process," said Wilder, "so I am definitely looking at maybe getting back into the ring before November or December. I may want a little warm-up or something that would keep me active, really."

So which one these heavyweights is acting like a little kid- the one recovering from a hand injury and allegedly out of shape, or the one that's initiating the trash talking? Who do you think wins if Stiverne and Wilder face off at the end of the year?

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