By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America
Last week, it was Anthony Joshua who won with a ten round stoppage victory over Carlos Takam and this week it was Deontay Wilder turn as he faced Bermane Stiverne, the only fighter who went the distance with Wilder. Before the main event, Adrian Granados faced Shawn Porter in a key welterweight division and Sergey Lipinets challenged Akirhiro Kondo for the IBF Junior Welterweight title vacated by Terrance Crawford, who went up to welterweight.
Kondo began his fight pressuring Lipinets but Lipinets landed the more accurate counters and this showed up on the fourth round when Lipinets nailed Kondo with a series of body shots and combinations while Kondo landed occasional left hook to the body.
In the fifth round, Kondo nailed Lipinets with a solid right with a minute left in the fifth round and sent Lipinets reeling around the ring as Kondo pursued to add more punishment. In the sixth round, a clash of heads open a cut over Lipinets eyes. From the seventh thru the ninth round, each round was close but Kondo looked the stronger and more active over those rounds. Going into the last two rounds, I had the fight even as Kondo aggressive style started to wear down Lipinets but Lipinets in the eleventh showed boxing skills which continues into the twelfth rounds which led to a Lipinets’ win. I had the fight 7 to 5 in favor of Lipinets but the judges had it by wider margin.
Shawn Porter faced Adrian Granados who had lost several close fights in a fight that could have risked Porter’s contender status against Keith Thurman. The first three rounds produced a battle for attrition with both fighters landed punches in bunches but Porter appeared to land the bigger punches.
As the fight entered the eighth round, both fighters continued the pattern with Porter landing the harder punches but Granados landed some big shots of his own countering the aggressive style of Porter. Over the last two rounds, Porter quit fighting due to a broken hand and Granados dominated the last two rounds. I had Porter up ahead easily going into the last two rounds but many rounds were close, so how the judges were going to score the fight remained the mystery. The judges had the fight 9 to 3 in favor of Porter a score I couldn’t disagree with. Granados fought a competitive fight but he lost the fight.
Wilder started the first round with jabs and over the next two minutes, he simply treated Stiverne as his personal punching bag. Wilder piston like jab paralyzed Stiverne who never threw a punch. Wilder landed a classic one two, left jab, right hand and sent Stiverne down. After Stiverne got up, Wilder nailed Stiverne with yet another left jab and right hand that sent Stiverne down again. Stiverne got back up and Wilder went for the kill. With time running out of the first round, Wilder trapped Stiverne at rope and Wilder landed a right hand to Stiverne’s right side before following up with a left hand that sent Stiverne head 180 degrees. Wilder followed up with another right hand and another left hand that sent Stiverne to the canvas. The referee stopped the fight and moving Wilder away from Stiverne, who laid on the ground.
Over the past two weekends, we saw the two best heavyweights as Joshua stopped Takam in workmanlike fashion and Wilder scored a spectacular knockout over former heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne. The pieces are in place for undisputed heavyweight champion in 2018.