(Video above: Deontay Wilder knocks out Eric Molina in the 9th round)
Alabama native and reigning WBC heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder successfully defended his title against challenger Eric Molina Saturday night in a back-and-forth bout that ended just like 32 of Wilder’s previous 33 fights had — in a knockout.
Molina survived three previous knockdowns before Wilder delivered the decisive overhand right that compelled veteran referee Jack Reese to stop the fight.
“He goes down faster than a plate of Alabama barbecue!” The announcer screamed. “That is it! Wilder seals the deal!”
“For you!” Wilder proclaimed to his home-state fans on each side of the ring at UAB’s Bartow Arena.
“This is the first of many title fights in Alabama,” he would later say. It was the first ever heavyweight title bout in the Yellowhammer State.
It wasn’t quite the decisive victory many had expected, and Molina seemed to hurt Wilder briefly in earlier rounds. That will fuel Wilder’s detractors who say he would be no match for Wladimir Klitschko, who currently holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring heavyweight titles. But the fight was never in question as Wilder controlled most of the action throughout before dropping the hammer in the ninth round.
After the fight, it didn’t take long for Team Wilder to turn their attention to the future. They are already eyeing a September date for his next bout, a much quicker turnaround than recent past champions.
The previous WBC title holder, Bermane Stiverne, only fought about once a year, and before him Vitali Klitschko fought in even longer intervals.
Wilder’s next fight will be against a challenger ranked in the top 15, and at some point thereafter he will make a mandatory fight against Russian Alexander Povetkin.
“You’ve got a champion who wants to fight,” said Wilder’s trainer and manager Jay Deas.
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) June 9, 2015