Deontay Wilder made a successful third defense of his WBC heavyweight title tonight in Brooklyn, crushing Artur Szpilka with a monstrous right hand knockout in the ninth round, after battling through arguably his toughest fight to date as a professional.
Szpilka (20-2, 15 KO) was aggressive from the start, but not reckless, giving Wilder (36-0, 35 KO) plenty of trouble with his upper body and head movement, and keeping the distance largely where he needed it to be to stay away from the danger of Wilder's right hand.
At the end of eight rounds, in a very competitive fight, BLH had it 77-75 for Szpilka, who didn't so much appear to be surely on his way to the upset win as much as he had clearly proven he belonged in this fight.
"I told him that he was a great contender, that he came and gave his all, and he gave a great fight for Brooklyn. Thank you, Artur Szpilka, for your competitiveness," Wilder told Jim Gray. "He was definitely a crafty guy. I haven't competed or sparred against a southpaw in three years. He had the people on his side and they gave him the motivation to do what he had to do. He did a great job, man."
"He was more crafty and slick than we thought, but we've got 12 rounds, and I'm very patient. They all can't be pretty."
After that, Tyson Fury got into the ring for what was essentially a pro wrestling promo, and frankly a very good one, getting in Wilder's face and calling him a bum, with Wilder calling Fury an "actor," and both guys challenging for a fight at some point. But we'll have more on that later.
For now, the story is that Deontay Wilder did it again, and he proved he can handle some adversity. Though he led 78-74, 78-74, and 77-75 on the cards when the fight was stopped, this bout was plenty competitive, and Wilder himself said as much. Szpilka gave him a test. And he passed.
Szpilka was down for a couple of minutes after the knockout, and was taken out on a stretcher for his own safety, but was responsive and had sat up before he was taken from the ring, too. It certainly wasn't a pretty sight, but as much as he can be, it looked like Szpilka was OK after the knockout.