Just one month after his successful title defense against Chris Arreola on July 16, WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) is on the fast track to recovery following injuries suffered during the bout to his right hand and biceps.
Making the fourth defense of his title, Wilder dominated Arreola for eight one-sided rounds to earn his 36th stoppage victory in front of nearly 12,000 fans at the Legacy Arena, in Birmingham, AL. Wilder set out to hurt Arreola early on, staggering him in round two with a powerful straight right. Wearing him down further in the third, Wilder dropped Arreola hard in round four with a jab-straight right combination, then wobbled the challenger again as the bell sounded. It was during this attack that Wilder suffered his injuries, after which the champion focused on expertly outboxing his foe with stiff jabs and pinpoint left hooks upstairs. His face swollen and bloodied, a weary Arreola did not come out of his corner for round nine, awarding Wilder the TKO victory. The bout was televised in prime time on the FOX network, promoted by DiBella Entertainment and presented by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).
After the bout, Wilder was taken to UAB Hospital for an MRI that confirmed a broken hand and torn bicep injuries. Dr. Jimmy Robinson, Wilder’s physician since his pro debut, who is also the Chair for Sports Medicine and Team Physician for the University of Alabama, set him up for the appropriate surgeries at the acclaimed Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, which has also serviced high profile athletes such as Roy Jones Jr., Terrell Owens and Brett Favre. On July 21, Dr. Lyle Cain repaired a ruptured distal biceps tendon at the elbow. On July 28, Wilder’s right hand was operated on by Dr. Kathleen McKeon, who performed an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of his fourth and fifth metacarpal.
“The surgeries were completed by well-renowned surgeons and were an absolute success,” said Dr. Robinson. “I anticipate that Wilder will be back fighting by the end of this year or January of next year. As he is healing, part of his rehab will be to restore range motion to the elbow and get his strength back, which will expedite his recovery. The repair to his right hand should make it as solid and as strong as it can be, so that no further injuries are sustained. In fact, with his rehab, I anticipate the power in his right hand only to increase.”
“We’re thrilled that both surgeries were so successful and that Deontay is on the road back,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “He’s a dedicated champion and will work diligently to return better than ever. It’s great for Deontay, boxing and the heavyweight division that he will be able to defend his title when the calendar turns to 2017.”
“Deontay and I will be working out as he heals so that he will be prepared the moment he is fully healed,” said Wilder’s trainer Jay Deas. “He will be in the gym working on conditioning, his footwork, and we’ll be working his left hand overtime so that when the right hand is cleared, we will be ready to take a fight. I think Deontay will be ready to fight by the last part of this year or by January the latest.”
“I’ve always known that my body is a fast healing body because I am an elite athlete and the doctor confirmed that,” said Wilder, who has proudly worn his WBC belt since capturing it in January 2015 by defeating Bermane Stiverne. “We’re going to pick up where we left off. I’m looking forward to unifying the division. That’s my main goal. I don’t want to stop. I don’t need a tune-up. I don’t need a warm-up. I don’t need none of that. Once everything is healed with the arm, I’m going to get back to right where I left off.”