WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) will make the third defense of his title when he'll face Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) on a January 16th Showtime card at the Barclays Center. Lou DiBella, who will be the promoter of this card, expresses his confidence that Szpilka will come to make a good show of it. Here's what DiBella told ESPN:
"You have one of the biggest Polish populations around the Barclays Center and in the New York/New Jersey area, and whatever you want to say about Szpilka, the guy is rugged and a brawler," promoter Lou DiBella, who will promote the fight, told ESPN.com on Tuesday night, confirming rumors that Szpilka would be the opponent. "He won't stink the joint out. He'll make a good fight."
Wilder was hoping to make the announcement that he would be facing Vyacheslav Glazkov at the Jacobs-Quillin show last week, after spending nearly two months negotiating the fight, but the two sides were stuck on a few details. And then, when it became clear the IBF would strip Tyson Fury, Glazkov decided he's rather go fight for that vacant title. Wilder wasn't particularly thrilled with how that all shook out.
"It's frustrating," he said Saturday. "What's frustrating is having an opponent that's there [Glazkov] and having had a deal for two months, and all of a sudden, they see an opportunity and they take the easier route. I think it's disrespectful and unprofessional, in my opinion. I was looking forward to whupping [Glazkov] and whoever else. I'm looking to unify the division, and that's my main goal and my mission. Whoever steps in that ring is going to get punished. I guarantee it. I promise you guys I will unify the division."
Glazkov probably shoudn't have pissed of Wilder, especially since Deontay is liable to go all hitman on him (and you see the black gloves in the picture, right?!). But this is what happens in a sport where you have multiple promoters, managers, sanctioning bodies, athletics commissions, etc., all with competing interests.
Szpilka, rated 19th by BoxRec, is currently riding a four fight win streak since getting stopped by Bryant Jennings in January 2014. He'll obviously be the heavy underdog here, particularly as fans continue to wait for another compelling fight for Wilder.