Thomas Gonzalez, ringside.
The cries of ‘USA’, ‘Bomb Squad’ and ‘Artur – Szpilka’ reverberated around the Barclays arena in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday night.
The early rounds of Wilder – Szpilka saw neither man back up the aggression they had promised, each taking the safer route and gaining a feel for each other’s distance and power. Szpilka, instead started early utilizing good head movement, with the Pole’s southpaw style seeming to keep the champion hesitant to throw his trademark right hand at times.
As the first half of the fight progressed, Szpilka was much more aggressive, coming forward with a looping left hand, but not quite scoring to the head, instead hitting arms. Wilder deciding to maintain his distance with a longer reach, trying to get the jab going, which in turn caused Szpilka’s overhand right hook to miss frequently.
‘The Polish Prince’ seemed to keep Wilder honest during the early rounds, as each fighter took the role of predator over the three minute intervals.
Unfortunately for fans, not many big shots landed throughout the early stages, but that was to change in the fourth, as Wilder began to show his power, connecting with a right hand at the close of the round, one that Szpilka was to defiantly shake his head at.
That seemed to wake up Szpilka, as he came out much more aggressive in the fifth, backing Wilder up early with his jab. A fiery exchange then occurred, with Szpilka landing a solid double against Wilder’s head, only to have the champion fire back and land consecutively. As the round closed, Szpilka took the lead once again, firing with bad intentions, whilst Wilder danced around, feigning as if he were hurt whilst shaking his body mockingly.
Throughout the rounds, Szpilka consistently came into the pocket, doing a good job of throwing Wilder off his tempo, with the Alabama native looking to maintain distance to set up the trademark thudding shots he’s become known for. This was an exciting fight, with Szpilka landing his fair share of shots, but it always seemed the reigning champion was coming away with more real-estate gained.
Wilder landed the right hand again in the seventh, snapping his challenger’s head back once more; the smaller southpaw showed grit by telling him to ‘come on!’ defiantly, and landing his own left hook, but the ending was soon to come.
A devastating right hand in round nine lay Szpilka out on the canvas, as Wilder countered a left hand from the Polish challenger. The eight count wasn’t even administered, as referee Michael Griffith waved off the contest at 2.24 of the ninth round, with Wilder retaining his WBC heavyweight crown.
Things got fiery in the ring afterwards, as lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury entered the ring and went head-to-head with Wilder after months of publicly bashing each other on social media.
Charles Martin scores technical knockout against Czar Glazkov in round three
After tentative early moments, American Charles Martin, was able to use his superior reach and size to his advantage – punching and staying out of the Glazkov wheel-house, whilst physically pushing the Florida based heavyweight off during clinches.
The 29 year old southpaw was able to connect and drop Glazkov, due to an unfortunate slip during round three. The challenger gingerly gained his feet, but gestured to his corner that something was amiss with his knee or ankle, with Glazkov seeming to have a bit of a hobble in his leg when he trotted back to meet Martin center ring.
Something was clearly wrong for Glazkov, as the Ukranian attempted to turn southpaw to shelter an obvious leg injury. That wasn’t to work however, as a right hook clipping the gloves put him down heavily with his knee twisting in an unearthly fashion, drawing gasps from the arena as replays boomed out over the Megatron.
The joint-challenger gallantly gained his feet, but it was to no avail, as referee Albert Earl Brown followed him to his corner and counted him out from the knockdown, resulting in Charles Martin winning the vacant IBF heavyweight crown – this was the same IBF title recently stripped from lineal heavyweight king Tyson Fury
Expect to see a likely unification fight to take place between Deontay Wilder and Charles Martin in the not-too-distant future, for the WBC and IBF heavyweight titles, with both men managed by influential figure Al Haymon – watch this space.