NEW YORK: Unbeaten Deontay Wilder kept his share of the world heavyweight crown on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with his 35th knockout in 36 fights, then traded verbal sparring with unbeaten British rival champion Tyson Fury in the ring.
A sledgehammer right hand to the chin left Polish opponent Artur Szpilka unconscious and flat on his back at 2:24 of the ninth round at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the southpaw taken off on a stretcher to a hospital as a precaution.
That enabled Wilder to keep his World Boxing Council title and set the stage for a potential shot at an undisputed title later this year against Fury, who beat Wladimir Klitschko for the World Boxing Association crown and climbed into the ring to taunt Wilder moments after the fight ended.
“There’s only one Tyson Fury,” the Briton yelled as they moved into a staredown. “What’ve you got to say about that Deontay?”
“You’re just a phony,” Wilder replied. “This is just an act. You know where I am. You know what time, what place. I ain’t scared of nobody, I’ll come to your backyard, baby.”
Fury, 25-0 with 18 knockouts, made the same offer, adding: “Any time, any place, anywhere. I’ll beat you. You’re a bum,” as the crowd booed.
Wilder laughed at the somewhat cartoonish situation, saying, “I don’t play this. You should have been an actor. When we do step in the ring, this ain’t wrestling, this ain’t the WWE, baby. When you do step in this ring with me — if you do because this should’ve been done a long time ago — you can run around like you’re a preacher all that you want but when you step into that ring I promise you I will baptize you.
“Make the date Tyson. Make the date.”