UPDATE: This post is written by Solomon Crenshaw Jr. with some pictures by Nik Layman from Alabama NewsCenter. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com/
Above: Deontay Wilder, left, and Johann Duhaupas at today’s weigh-in. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)
Deontay Wilder said friends of his warned him not to overlook Johann Duhaupas as he prepares for the second defense of his World Boxing Council heavyweight championship.
The Tuscaloosa native said they need not have worried.
“I never look past no man,” he said during a Thursday press conference. “Any man that steps into the ring definitely gets my full attention and my respect.”
Wilder comes into Saturday night’s title fight at Legacy Arena at the BJCC with a 34-0 record and 33 knockouts. Duhaupas, of France, is 32-2 with 20 knockouts.
The challenger has never been knocked out, much less knocked down. The champion intends to change that.
“It’s exciting that he’s never been knocked out before,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being that guy who gives him his very first taste of the canvas, and a knockout.
“He’s never been in the ring with a guy like me, with my caliber, my speed, my athleticism, my power, the things I’m about to bring to the table.”
Through an interpreter, Duhaupas said he isn’t someone who had everything given to him. “I’m someone who’s worked hard to be here. I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve trained some of the best boxers in the world.
“I make you this promise,” he said. “I’m here for a reason and I will come away with the title on Saturday.”
Wilder took a moment Thursday from looking forward to this second title defense to look back to when he won the title on Jan. 17, 2015, dethroning defending champion Bermane Stiverne in a 12-round unanimous decision. The Tuscaloosa native recognized members of his team, giving them bracelets that are replicas of the championship belt.
“I wouldn’t say I have a team,” Wilder said. “I have a family.”
Gene Hallman of the Bruno Event Team said a large crowd is expected as ticket sales are going well. “Only a handful” of floor-level seats are available in the venue, which is configured with a 19,000 capacity. The least expensive tickets are $25, the remaining floor seats are $300.
The first fight is at 4:30 p.m. with doors opening at 4 p.m. Watch the fight on NBC beginning at 7:30 pm Central!