Deontay Wilder didn't finish it in one round, though not for lack of trying. And Nicolai Firtha couldn't pull the upset, though also not for lack of trying. Wilder, the big-punching American heavyweight hopeful, put Firtha away in the fourth round tonight to run his record to 30-0, all wins by stoppage.
Wilder had to compose himself immediately in the fight, as Firtha (21-11-1, 8 KO) came out looking to shock the world, throwing wild bombs at the big man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But Wilder handled the rush pretty well, staying focused and calm, and not letting himself get drawn into anything silly. A jab did stagger Wilder early, but seemed more due to balance than anything.
By the end of the opening frame, Firtha had been down twice, though neither were big time knockdowns. Still, it set the tone, and once Wilder began to land, Firtha's aggression levels certainly dipped. With a bloodied nose and a rising sense of the inevitable, Firtha hung in until the fourth round, when a single thudding blast from Wilder's right hand put him on the canvas, with referee Lindsey Page calling the fight.
"Firtha is a tough dude," Wilder told Showtime's Jim Grey after the fight. "Everybody looks at records, but you can't always just look at records. He brought excitement and came to knock me out."
Wilder also told Grey that he felt he was right on the doorstep of a big fight, and did say earlier this week that he was looking to fight for a world title in 2014. Is he ready?