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Heavyweight champ & Alabama native Deontay Wilder readies title defense in Birmingham

Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder engages in a video staredown with his next opponent, Chris Arreola, at a press conference previewing their July 16 fight in Birmingham. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder engages in a video staredown with his next opponent, Chris Arreola, at a press conference previewing their July 16 fight in Birmingham. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

Deontay Wilder says he never looks past an opponent.

He looks through them.

“Looking through them, that allows you to daydream a little bit,” he said Wednesday as he announced details of his upcoming fight. “All of my opponents, I’ve been able to look through them. That’s just how confident I am.”

The Tuscaloosa native was exuding confidence at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex as he talked about the July 16 defense of his World Boxing Council heavyweight championship against Chris “the Nightmare” Arreola in Legacy Arena.

“I don’t get nervous and I don’t get no butterflies,” the champ said. “I kind of get mad when I have to wait. That’s how much I love this sport. Most people get terrified when it’s time to go to war. For me, I look forward to it each and every time.”

This bout follows Wilder’s scheduled May 21 meeting with Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. That fight was postponed indefinitely after Povetkin tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance.

Wilder (36-0, 35 KO) said he couldn’t have been more prepared for that bout.

“I was super excited, super prepared,” he said. “I looked gooder than I ever did in my career.”

The cancellation left him on the verge of depression, he said, only to rise from those depths to step into the ring again. The fight with Arreola will be the third in Birmingham in just over a year, placing the Magic City in rare company with Las Vegas as a frequent host of heavyweight championships.

Wilder said he and his camp are cautious about being overprepared for the bout.

“This is going to be a short camp for us because I’m already ready,” he said. “We’re definitely taking the appropriate measures for this situation.”

Arreola is 36-4-1 with 31 knockouts.

Upper-level tickets are $20 apiece. Other tickets are $55, $125, $200, $375 and $600, according to Ticketmaster.

The fight will be broadcast on FOX television as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series. The telecast starts at 7 p.m. Central.

Doors open at 3 p.m., with the first fight of the undercard at 4.

Contender Chris Arreola appears via television at a press conference about his July 16 fight with heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Birmingham. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Contender Chris Arreola appears via television at a press conference about his July 16 fight with heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Birmingham. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
A promotional poster for the July 16 Wilder-Arreola bout. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
A promotional poster for the July 16 Wilder-Arreola bout. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder speaks to the press in Birmingham about defending his title. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder speaks to the press in Birmingham about defending his title. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder talks about his upcoming title defense fight against Chris Arreola. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)
Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder talks about his upcoming title defense fight against Chris Arreola. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./Alabama NewsCenter)

The Associated Press reported this week that Wilder and promoter DiBella Entertainment have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court of New York against Povetkin and his promoter, alleging breach of contract.

The suit seeks damages of no less than $5 million and names Povetkin and promoter World of Boxing LLC, run by Andrei Ryabinsky. YahooSports first reported the suit.

Wilder was scheduled to make almost $4.4 million for the Povetkin fight.

Next month’s bout will be Wilder’s third title defense in Birmingham. His first was at UAB’s Bartow Arena in June of last year. He followed that with the defeat of Johan Duhaupas at the BJCC Legacy Arena in September.

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