Mon, Jul 18, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Wilder retains heavyweight title, stopping Arreola

AP, BIRMINGHAM, Alabama

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, right, and challenger Chris Arreola hold signs at weigh-ins in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday.

Photo: AP

Despite fighting mostly one-armed for half the fight, Deontay Wilder remained in control in the ring before quickly heading to the hospital.

Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title with a technical knockout when Chris Arreola’s corner stopped the fight after the eighth round on Saturday night at Legacy Arena.

Arreola’s left eye appeared swollen shut. An injured Wilder (37-0, 36 knockouts) knocked down Arreola in the fourth and peppered him with left jabs and hooks after landing hard rights early.

Promoter Lou DiBella said Wilder was taken to nearby UAB Hospital after a doctor confirmed he had a broken right hand and a probable distal tear in his right biceps. Both injuries happened early in the fight.

Wilder showed reporters his injured biceps as he headed to the locker room and said he was already certain the hand was broken. He threw the right, his biggest weapon, sparingly after the fourth round.

Even hurting, Wilder did not lose his bravado. Before leaving the ring, he was talking about wanting to fight the winner of the upcoming Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury fight, or Anthony Joshua.

“My goal is to unify the division,” Wilder said. “I’m one of the baddest, hardest-hitting heavyweights in the business. Right here from Alabama, baby. I came a long way. So whoever’s got those belts, that’s who I want. It don’t matter if I got a broke hand, got a torn muscle, I’m going to fight like heavyweight champions do. I don’t play boxing. Of course I want the Furys, of course I want the Joshuas, but the question is, do they want me?”

It was Wilder’s fourth title defense and third in Birmingham, about an hour from his hometown of Tuscaloosa.

Arreola (36-5-1) took the fight on short notice after Wilder’s mandatory defense against Russian Alexander Povetkin was called off in May. Povetkin failed a drug test.

Arreola said he never realized Wilder was injured.

“I just thought he didn’t throw the right hand because I was just waiting for it,” he said. “That was the last thing on my mind, whether he hurt his arm or not.”

Wilder wobbled Arreola with a right hand then knocked him down with a barrage late in the fourth. He had Arreola off-balance on the ropes when the round ended.

With his right hand mostly out of commission, Wilder appeared to hurt Arreola again with a left in the final seconds of the seventh. Wilder also broke his right hand in winning the title against Bermane Stiverne in January last year and had surgery.

He had a wound on his right elbow going into the fight, and it was bleeding by the end in addition to his more serious injuries. Trainer Jay Deas said Wilder hurt it doing yard work and that it did not affect him in the fight.

“I wanted to give you guys a knockout, but I broke my hand and I tore a muscle in my right hand,” Wilder told the crowd of nearly 12,000. “I couldn’t show it, because Chris is a tough, tough man.”

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