UPDATE: This story is written by Solomon Crenshaw Jr. from Alabama NewsCenter. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com/
Confirmation that Deontay Wilder’s second title defense will be in Birmingham has the sanctioning body of boxing in the state hoping that Alabama will host more such events.
Jody McCormick, executive director of the Alabama Athletic Commission, confirmed today that the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion will again defend his title in the Magic City. This time he will step into the ring at the Legacy Arena at the BJCC in a bout that will be seen nationally on NBC.
“We have received paperwork stating that it is the intention of the promoter to host it on Sept. 26 at the BJCC,” McCormick said. “We are going to proceed with that and start working on our end to put that together. It’s going to happen.”
Not all the details were clear. AL.com reported that the Tuscaloosa native (34-0 with 33 knockouts) will face Frenchman Johann Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KO).
“That is our understanding,” McCormick said, “but none of the paperwork has an opponent listed.”
The time of the title tilt was also unclear, dependent on the TV schedule and the number of bouts on the undercard. Regardless, Wilder’s second title defense here bodes well for more pro fighting events.
“We think a lot of it has to do with the overwhelming support that the state fan base gave (Wilder) for the previous event against Eric Molina,” the executive director said of the champ’s ninth round knockout June 13 at UAB’s Bartow Arena. “We would like to see more fights come to the state of Alabama, whether they’re with Deontay or not. We would like to have Alabama become a combat sports destination.
“I think we have a very captive fan base that is hungry for events of that magnitude and scope,” McCormick continued. “I think both boxing and mixed martial arts will flourish in Alabama if just given the opportunity by some of the larger promotions.”
Wilder sold out the 9,000-seat Bartow Arena. McCormick said Legacy Arena could hold more than 17,000 when configured for boxing.
McCormick said he’s been told ticket prices will be comparable to the June event, which he called “fairly reasonable” and “rather approachable for the magnitude of the event.”
Tickets for the fights in June ranged from a low of $15 to $20 to a top price of $300, which was for a floor seat and a VIP pass.