Wilder brings boxing to Sweet Home Alabama, Showtime 9 p.m. ET

American heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder brings boxing to his home state of Alabama for what should be a victory lap.

Deontay Wilder greets fans in Alabama at Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime
Deontay Wilder greets fans in Alabama at Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime

SAN DIEGO, June 12, 2015 – When an American holds a heavyweight title in boxing in the 21st Century, it’s worth celebrating. Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs) will celebrate his first WBC title defense in his home state of Alabama on Saturday for Showtime.

Wilder answered many of the questions asked about him with his dominating decision over a sluggish Bermane Stiverne in January, showing he is a worthy champion and the record is more than a mirage. Fans started getting excited about the idea of seeing Wilder in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko and watching the two mix it up. But it’s not happening just yet.

Deontay Wilder (left) and Eric Molina face-off Friday at the weigh-in. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime
Deontay Wilder (left) and Eric Molina face-off Friday at the weigh-in. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime

Wilder should have little trouble with challenger Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KOs), a Texas heavyweight with an undistinguished record including a first round TKO loss to bruiser Chris Arreola.

Nevertheless, fans in Birmingham, Alabama are thrilled to watch their hero live. Gene Hallman, president and CEO of the Bruno Event Team, said the venue on the University of Alabama campus is a sellout with all 8.508 seats sold. It is the first world championship boxing event to take place in the state of Alabama.

Wilder is smart to get right back in the ring after his terrific victory over Stiverne, but he’s marking time until one of the big names is ready to rumble. The 6-foot-7 Wilder weighed in at 229 pounds Friday, while the 6-foot-4 Molina checked in at 6-4, 239.25.

Jose Pedraza arrives flying his Puerto Rican flag at Friday's weigh-in.
Jose Pedraza arrives flying his Puerto Rican flag at Friday’s weigh-in.

The co-main event features fighters at the opposite end of the spectrum, 100 pounds lighter than the heavyweights. Super featherweight Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico (19-0, 12 KOs) takes on Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KOs) of Russia. On the line is the 130-pound world title recently vacated by Rances Barthelemy when he decided to move up to the next weight class. Both weighed in under the 130 limit, Pedraza at 129.75 and Klimov at 129 pounds.

This bout has the makings of an entertaining matchup and it’s one of the more even matchups on the card. Klimov’s only loss is to the 2014 Fighter of the Year, Terence Crawford in October 2013. The former Russian amateur champion lost every round but he did go the distance, and compared to Crawford Klimov was the much smaller man. Pedraza is also an accomplished amateur. He has only been a professional four years but has made steady progress relying on speed and the ability to shift between orthodox and southpaw at will. Saturday’s fight should be competitive, but the crafty Pedraza should have the upper hand.

If time permits (and it should), fans will also see a swing bout featuring a light heavyweight I’m keeping my eye on, Ahmed Elbiali (10-0, 9 KOs) from Miami, Florida via Cairo, taking on Donta Woods of Atlanta (8-4, 7 KOs). Woods is essentialy a local house fighter who should not present much challenge to the aggressive, hard-hitting Elbiali. Sit back and enjoy what’s sure to be a highlight reel knockout. No pressure, Ahmed.

There are nine fights total on the undercard; Showtime Extreme will show several bouts beginning at 7 p.m. ET (delayed to 7 p.m. on the West Coast), including a 12-round lightweight WBC elimination bout between Ivan Redkach (18-0, 14 KOs) and Dejan Zlaticanin (16-0, 9 KOs) of Montenegro. The winner gets the opportunity to fight current WBC champion Jorge Linares later in the year, a cracking good fight.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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