SAN DIEGO, September 26, 2015 – Deontay Wilder had to put a little more work in than he expected to get his 33rd stoppage in 35 bouts against a surprisingly tough Johann Duhaupas (32-3, 20 KOs) of France to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
Wilder (35-0, 33 KOs) dished out a lot of punishment before referee Jack Reiss finally stopped the bout at 55 seconds of the 11th round. Reiss had several opportunities to legitimately stop the fight earlier. Perhaps he was giving Duhaupas every chance to end the bout on his feet; until Saturday he had never been down or stopped in his career.
The home state fans in Birmingham, Alabama didn’t mind getting more of a show. Even though the French heavyweight and former European Union champion appeared to be losing every round, he did not make it easy for Wilder. He pressed forward and he did his best to connect on the insider with Wilder.
In the first round, Duhaupas suffered a cut to the bridge of his nose, but it was managed well by his corner. Wilder started making headway against Duhaupus in the fifth round, and it looked like the night would end there. But Duhaupas made it out of the round. Reiss told him if he didn’t show him something in the sixth round he would stop the fight.
Meanwhile, Duhaupas had caused Wilder’s left eye to start swelling. It created a little more urgency for the champion. In the seventh round, Duhaupas taking some serious shot to the body, and Wilder finally hurt him midway through the round. Wilder found the upper cut, mixing them up with brutal body shows and right hooks. But Duhaupas would not be stopped.
Again in the tenth round, Wilder being teeing off on Duhaupas, and fans shouted via social media that the fight should be stopped. But it took one more minute into the 11th round until it was over.
Duhaupas’ secret weapon was his amazing toughness. Many other boxers could only hope for a chin of granite like Duhaupas, but with it came a little too much stubbornness for his own good. Wilder landed a total of 183 power punches in the bout, Duhaupas only 47. Your chin can only take you so far if your output isn’t getting the job done.
After the fight, Wilder said Duhaupas did everything he expected him to do. “We knew he was tough, we knew he was mentally tough… I see why he’s never been stopped before, he’s got a hell of a chin and it was a great performance,” said Wilder.
Wilder said he wasn’t feeling any pressure at all and he was prepared to go all 12 rounds. “It’s tough fighting at home because you want to please, you want to entertain the crowd, people come out and pay their hard earned money so they definitely want to see a show, and did they get a show tonight, whew!” said Wilder.
When asked about a future fight with the heavyweight who holds all of the title belts except the one in Wilder’s hand, Wladimir Klitschko, Wilder urged his fans to be patient. “Hopefully we can do it in the next year sometime, we’ve got to get those mandatories out of the way as well too. People got to understand, they got to stay patient guys, it’s a process and it’s a business too. As long as I keep winning and he keeps winning, soon we can have our undisputed championship of the world and that’s me baby.”
Wilder said time is his friend in this case. “I’m the younger guy so the more time pass by, that’s an advantage for me,” said Wilder.
Wilder isn’t quite ready for Dr. Steelhammer; his mandatory fight with Alexander Povetkin will provide more than enough of a challenge for now.
Dominic Breazeale (16-0, 14 KOs) likes to think he’s ready to step up to bigger name competition, but he didn’t do a lot to convince anyone of it with his unanimous decision over Fred Kassi (18-4-1, 10 KOs) of Cameroon in the co-main event. It was a sloppy looking fight out of Breazeale, who had a lot of trouble getting to the veteran Kassi. Kassi got inside and made it stick against the much taller Breazeale numerous times, and worked harder to win the rounds. Even the ringside scorers on the Premier Boxing team were seeing the fight going Kassi’s way, and the fans in the arena and commenting on Twitter did too. It was close enough that a 96-94 score for Breazeale wouldn’t have been an outrage. But the judges scored it 97-93, 98-92, and 100-90 for Breazeale. The Birmingham fans booed the announcement, and PBC’s B.J. Flores and Sugar Ray Leonard both agreed the scores were ridiculous.
After the fight, Breazeale admitted Kassi was tough. “He came out with guns blazing, I definitely wasn’t expecting that from Fred Kassi at all,” said Breazeale. He acknowledged he’s got some work to do, and called himself “frustrated” with his inability to stop Kassi in the fight half of the fight. “I’m a young guy, I’ve got a lot to learn,” said Breazeale. He needs to get to it, perhaps rethink his training and his approach if he wants to reach the next level.
Breazeale had breezily predicted a knockout in the third round; he ended up going ten rounds for the first time in his career. Plenty of people have underestimated Kassi and overestimated themselves. Kassi received a lot of applause from an appreciative crowd in Birmingham, saying after the fight he thought he won. “He wasn’t hitting me with nothing, I was blocking it. I think I was the better fighter, I slipped more of his punches.”
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.
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