NEW YORK (Jan. 8, 2015) – In the most anticipated heavyweight fight in the United States in a decade, WBC Heavyweight World Champion Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), a Haitian native fighting out of Las Vegas, will make his first defense against the confident, undefeated knockout specialist Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the explosive main event of a televised tripleheader on Saturday, Jan. 17, live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Below are some facts and stats on the WBC Heavyweight World Championship:
· When Stiverne knocked out Chris Arreola on May 10, 2014, he became the first Haitian-born prizefighter and 22nd boxer overall to capture the WBC Heavyweight World Championship.
· Wilder, if triumphant, would become the first undefeated American heavyweight to capture a world title since Riddick Bowe won the WBC, WBA and IBF titles in 1992.
· Wilder also would become the 13th U.S.-born boxer to win the WBC title and the first since August 2006.
· Hasim Rahman was the last American to hold the WBC belt. The last American to hold any version of the heavyweight title was Shannon Briggs, who captured the WBO title in November 2006 and lost in his first defense.
· At six-foot-seven, Wilder would join Vitali Klitschko as the tallest WBC Heavyweight World Champion; the tallest heavyweight world champion was seven-foot-tall Nikolai Valuev, a former two-time WBA belt-holder who is also the heaviest (323 pounds) world champion in history.
· The initial nine WBC heavyweight champions were from the United States, beginning with Sonny Liston, who in July 1963 became the first WBC champion. Following Liston were Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Leon Spinks, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon and Pinklon Thomas.
· On Nov. 22, 1986, 20-year-old Mike Tyson of the U.S. became the youngest ever to capture the heavyweight title when he knocked out Trevor Berbick, who had defeated Thomas.
· Other WBC heavyweight champions from the U.S. include James “Buster” Douglas, Evander Holyfield, Bowe, Oliver McCall and Rahman.
· The only Jamaican-born boxer to become the WBC champion was Berbick, who also was the first heavyweight outside of the U.S. to capture the WBC crown.
· There have been two WBC heavyweight champions from England — Lennox Lewis, three different times and Frank Bruno.
· There was one fighter from Ukraine, Vitali Klitschko, who held the WBC belt on two occasions, one fighter from Russia, Oleg Maskaev and one from Nigeria Samuel Peter.
· Lewis is the only three-time WBC Heavyweight Champion. He made 14 successful defenses in his stints as champ.
· Ali, Foreman, Tyson, Klitschko and Rahman were two-time WBC heavyweight champs.
· Ali (two tenures) made a total of 19 successful title defenses.
· Holmes, with 16, had more successful title defenses than any one-reign champ; Klitschko had a total of 10, Ali had nine WBC world title defenses two separate times; Tyson, Lewis and Klitschko retained the title nine times once.
· Interestingly, the feared Liston had zero defenses of the WBC heavyweight title, the same number as Spinks, Norton, Witherspoon, Berbick, Douglas, Bowe, Bruno and Peter.
· Two boxers were stripped of the WBC title – Spinks (March 1978 for failing to defend against mandatory challenger Ken Norton and Bowe (December 1992 for not making a mandatory defense against Lewis).
· The WBC title was vacated twice (Holmes in December 1982) and Tyson (in September 1996).
· Two boxers retired as WBC Heavyweight Champions, Lewis in February 2004 and Klitschko twice, in November 2005 and December 2013.
· With the exception of Liston, all the U.S.-born WBC Heavyweight Champions were promoted at one time by Don King.
· Stiverne-Wilder will be 135th WBC Heavyweight World Title fight; 95 of them have taken place in the U.S., including 40 in Nevada (WBC heavyweight title fights have emanated from 20 different countries). Overall, this will be the 300th WBC title fight in Nevada.
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SHOWTIME Sports® will present ALL ACCESS: STIVERNE VS. WILDER on Friday, Jan. 9 at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
“RETURN TO GLORY”: STIVERNE VS. WILDER, a 12-round fight for Stiverne’s WBC Heavyweight Championship taking place Saturday, Jan. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is co-promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions. In the 12-round co-feature, unbeaten WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz defends against Jesus Ruiz and undefeated Amir Imam meets Fidel Maldonado Jr. in a 10-round super lightweight bout. The event will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., and will air live on SHOWTIME® (10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT). The telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will be televised live on SHOWTIME EXTREME (8:00 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets for the event are on sale and priced at $500, $350, $250, $125 and $50, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person with a limit of four (4) at the $50 price range. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are also available at www.mgmgrand.com orwww.ticketmaster.com.