Deontay Wilder's knockout streak ended at 32, but he went the distance with a strong performance to lift the WBC heavyweight title from Bermane Stiverne tonight, winning on scores of 118-109, 119-108, and 120-107. BLH had it 116-112 for Wilder.
The first round saw Bermane Stiverne in an exceptionally patient mode, throwing very little and nothing of real consequence. Wilder, meanwhile, was being walked down, but stayed working behind his jab and landed a few decent right hands, including one late in the round that may have shaken him just a bit.
The second round was a bit more of the same, but Wilder definitely hurt Stiverne late in the round, and may have deserved a knockdown call. Stiverne spent the round walking Wilder down, but eating good shots, both from the jab and the right hand.
The third round saw Stiverne land a few body shots, but Wilder still took the round behind his jab, and went for a few haymakers, missing badly but showing a growing confidence. Stiverne finally won a round in the fourth, landing some significant body shots and a good counter left hook upstairs. Wilder appeared to be tiring a bit heading into round five, his first time as a pro past four rounds.
Wilder did rally in the fifth, with Stiverne starting fast, but the Alabama native coming back and landing clean right hands to take the round. But fatigue once again appeared to be a bit of a factor in round six, as well as a wild uppercut that Wilder threw and was countered with a hook from Stiverne, who began to hunt the challenger. Wilder stemmed the tide with a couple of right hands, but the sixth was definitely Stiverne's best round to date, as he rocked Wilder early on and tried to get into his head, continuing to talk trash.
Wilder came back once again in the seventh round, smashing Stiverne with a big right hand, followed by a flurry with the champion against the ropes, but Stiverne covered up well and survived the onslaught. The eighth round was the first debatable round, with Wilder using his jab to control a lot of it, but Stiverne landing some solid body shots that could have nicked the round in his favor. The jab of Wilder definitely ruled round nine, as he handily took the frame, starting to look fresher than Stiverne, who appeared to be totally out of power.
The 10th round was another one for Wilder, though he was perhaps buzzed a bit with an uppercut and a right hand at the end of the round. The 11th was Stiverne's round, with Wilder potshotting and trying to stay out of harm's way as much as possible. Stiverne appeared to take the 12th, too, going to the body early, even though also going to the body much too late. Wilder did his best to smother Stiverne's work and hang on for a decision win.