Photos: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions
BIRMINGHAM, AL (Sept. 26) – Heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) scored another impressive victory of his exciting and undefeated career tonight with a hard-fought 11th round TKO over Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas (32-3, 20 KOs) in primetime on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC. Wilder’s win, which came at 55 seconds in the round, was registered in front of 8,471 raucous Alabama fans at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wilder was in a tough fight against the durable Duhaupas, who tested the strength and stamina of the highly touted American heavyweight. Wilder controlled the pace of much of the early rounds but had to weather the toughness of his opponent who refused to back away from Wilder’s punches. However, in the later rounds of the contest, Wilder listened to his corner and unleashed a series of combinations, including body shots, uppercuts and right hands to overwhelm his opponent and force Ref. Jack Reiss to stop the contest.
Wilder competed in the first heavyweight title bout in primetime on NBC since May 20, 1985, when then-undefeated American heavyweight world champion Larry Holmes, defended his title against Carl Williams in Reno, Nevada.
In the co-main event of the evening, 2012 U.S. Olympic undefeated heavyweight Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale, who improved to 16-0, 14 KOs, scored a 10-round unanimous decision over a tough and cagey “Big” Fred Kassi (18-4-1, 10 KOs), in a hard fought heavyweight battle. Judges scores were 98-92, 97-93 and 100-90.
“I wasn’t feeling any pressure at all. I’m well experienced. I’ve been doing this for a while now. It’s tough fighting at home because you want to please and entertain the crowd. The people came out and they paid their hard-earned money so they definitely want to see a show and they got a show tonight.
“Duhaupas did everything we expected him to do. We knew he was tough. We knew he was mentally tough. We knew he was going to come. That’s why I tell people, ‘You can’t criticize anyone you don’t know. The scariest people are the ones you don’t know . They’re the most dangerous ones.’ He’s got a hell of a chin too.
“Coming in here, when you’re fighting for a world title, it brings a different beast, a very different animal, out of fighters. They come to get it on whether they’re home or on the road. You have to give him credit. He did an excellent job and he definitely has my respect.
“He was very strong, definitely has a nice chin. I see why he’s never been stopped before. With 32 wins and two losses, never been stopped. It was a great performance. That’s what it’s all about, bringing the title to Alabama and bringing these warriors here. I’d like to thank my Alabama fans, my fans worldwide and I’d like to thank the fans that tuned in to watch PBC on NBC. It was a wonderful night.
“I was prepared to go all 12 rounds, but I started listening to my corner. They were saying to put my punches in bunches. All you can do is listen to your corner.
“Hopefully, Klitschko and I can fight sometime in the next year. We’ve got to get these mandatories out of the way first, so people have to stay patient. The key is to stay patient. This is a process and a business. That fight will surely come around as long as I keep winning, which I will, and as long as he keeps winning. That fight should come around real soon and we’ll have an undisputed world heavyweight champion, which will be me.
“Klitschko and I have sparred before. I’m the younger guy and the more time that goes by, that’s an advantage for me. Each and every fight, I prove a little bit more about what people don’t know about me. Of course I can take a punch. Of course I can punch and I can fight on the inside too. A lot of people don’t know that. I displayed a lot tonight and I’d like to thank my opponent for giving me the opportunity to show that tonight. Without his toughness and ability to keep coming, I wouldn’t have been able to display what I had.”
“Wilder’s a strong puncher but I was also ready to go the distance. I don’t think the referee should have stopped the fight. I was defending myself and moving. I don’t know why he stopped the fight. Yes I was bleeding but it was not affecting me in any way. I have never been stopped before in a fight and there’s a reason for that. It was disappointing he chose to stop it.
“I trained hard for this fight but only trained five weeks which for me is not enough time. I was still fighting a good fight and again I don’t think the referee should have stopped it.
“Wilder is a good fighter. I think he is tough and hit me with some good shots. But I also think he should have more preparation to go to the next level. He can compete with Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin but he needs to train hard and have a strong game plan.
“I’m okay and will continue my boxing career in Europe.”
” Fred’s a tough competitor. He came out guns blazing. It was punch for punch, man, match for match. He landed some good shots. I landed some good shots. I definitely wasn’t expecting that from Fred Kassi at all. I’ve got to thank him for coming out, putting on a great show. My performance was good. It could have been better, a lot better. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
“Yeah, I definitely got frustrated. I know he is a veteran. I know he was looking for those later rounds to shine. I’m looking for the knockout in the first, second and third round. He did a great job of avoiding it. He switched up to southpaw, then, he switched to orthodox. He was doing a lot of tricky things that a veteran guy does.
“It’s probably the most frustrated I’ve ever been in a fight, especially going 10 rounds. When you can’t figure a guy out by the third or fourth round, you start shooting shots and looking for things to land. I landed some good right hands but I just couldn’t put two pieces together. It was one strong shot after another, never two and three.
“In training camp, my trainers did a great job getting me in shape. We knew we had 10 hard rounds. I’ve been sparring 15, 16 rounds, so I knew I had it in the tank. At one point, we had it in the body shots. The body shots landed great and I could see it affected him, that he was getting hurt from them, so we had to keep going with it.
“I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m still a young guy in this game. I’m still in the top ranks, but little by little, every fight I take something from it and this one, I’m going to take a lot from this one. It was a learning lesson and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it. I’ve got to thank NBC and all the people that put this together.”
“He could not hit me with anything I was blocking everything. He’s definitely a good fighter, but I think I am the better fighter.
“I slipped more of his punches and he couldn’t really hit me. I was blocking. He was desperate to get me, but I was just showing him I was the better fighter. I don’t take nothing away from him, he’s a good fighter.”