Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder scored a fifth-round technical knockout over Gerald Washington. Wilder landed a powerful short right hand followed by a left hook to Washington’s temple that sent him crumbling to the canvas. Washington beat the count, but was on very unsteady footing. Wilder quickly jumped all over him and landed several unanswered thunderous left and right hooks that badly staggered Washington and violently snapped his head back, which prompted referee Michael Griffin to stop the fight at 1 minute, 45 seconds in the round, to save Washington from taking anymore punishment.
This fight was the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, in front of 12,346 mainly pro-Wilder fans.
Washington took full advantage of his first world title fight, as he controlled the bout for the first four rounds. He pressed the action and outworked and out landed Wilder. Washington displayed a strong left jab and occasional right hooks that consistently moved Wilder back and prevented him from countering any of his punches and from getting into any kind of offensive rhythm. He also caused Wilder’s left eye to be marked up by the end of the third.
Wilder, a notorious slow starter, started off much slower in this fight than he usually does. He appeared to be extremely lethargic and for whatever reason, he did not throw a lot of punches in the early going. Wilder might have been uncomfortable with Washington’s large six foot, six inch frame, when he is usually used to fighting boxers who are much smaller than he is. Wilder; however, instantly turned this fight around with his trademark powerful right hand.
According to CompuBox statistics, Wilder landed 33 of 113 punches (29 per cent) while Washington connected on 30 of 98 shots (31 per cent). He landed nine power shots in the fifth round after he only connected on eleven in the first four rounds. Wilder was ahead 39-37 on one scorecard and the other two judges each had it 38-38, at the time of the stoppage.
Wilder kept his undefeated record intact as he improved to 38-0, 37 KOs and retained his WBC heavyweight world title for the fifth time, a belt that he received when he defeated Bermane Stiverne in January 2015. This was Wilder’s first fight since coming off surgery to his broken right hand and right bicep that he damaged in his previous bout in July against former world title challenger Chris Arreola, who he defeated via a eighth-round knockout. It appeared from the way that Wilder fought, that he had no lingering issues from his surgeries.
Washington, who played football for USC and spent some time in the N.F.L. on several practice squads before he took up boxing, lost for the first time as a professional, as he dropped to 18-1-1, 12 KOs. Despite the setback, Washington, who was ranked eighth by the WBC, fought much better than most individuals expected. He demonstrated that he could more than hang in there with one of the better fighters in the division, despite being a 20:1 underdog heading into this bout. He won at least the first three, if not the first four rounds of this fight and fought as well as he could of before he was caught with a brutal right hand, left hook from one of the hardest hitting boxers in the sport.
Hopefully, Wilder will fight unbeaten WBO world title holder Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs), who was at ringside for this fight, later this year in a what will be a massive unification bout. This fight is contingent on happening as long as Parker defeats his mandatory challenger Hughie Fury (22-0, 10 KOs) on May 6th in Auckland, New Zealand. Both boxers are genuinely interested in fighting one another, in a bout that can help clarify who is the best fighter in the heavyweight division and bring some much needed excitement to this weight class.