Wilder retains WBC heavyweight crown with KO of Szpilka
NEW YORK (AP) — One fight over, Deontay Wilder nearly landed in another scrum with a furious heavyweight party crasher.
With Tyson Fury plotting a post-fight melee from ringside, Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight championship with a violent knockout of Artur Szpilka in the ninth round Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
"I'm a dangerous fighter," Wilder said. "What made my name is knocking people out. My right hand is a monster."
Wilder (36-0) left Szpilka out cold and flat on his back with a powerful right hand to the face. Szpilka (20-2) was out for several minutes and medics were called to the ring. He eventually slumped against the ring post as doctors tended to him.
Former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis sat ringside for Wilder's 35th KO that silenced a Polish-flavored crowd that chanted and sang for Szpilka.
"I'm surprised it took that long, but we had 12 rounds and they can't all can't be pretty," Wilder said.
Fury, the WBO and IBO heavyweight champ, also sat ringside until the fight was over — he then burst through the ropes and engaged in a trash talking, head-to-head showdown that electrified the crowd.
The IBF stripped Fury of another one of his championship belts when he agreed to an immediate rematch against Wladimir Klitschko. Fury slammed down his jacket and could not be restrained by security, furiously issuing Wilder a challenge to unify the belts.
"Any time! Any place! Anywhere!" Fury said.
Wilder, who won his third title defense and was ahead on all three scorecards, was ready for another fight.
"Like I did Klitschko, I'll beat you, ya bum, You're a bum," the showman Fury said.
"You can run around like you're a preacher all you want but you step in the ring, I promise you I will baptize you," Wilder said, as 12,668 fans roared. "This is an act. You're not a real fighter. This is an act. I don't play this. This ain't wrestling."
Like a heel wrestler, Fury stood on the corner turnbuckles, gestured toward the crowd and was about booed out of the building.
All that was missing was a steel chair to the back.
"Fury, I don't take that guy serious at all," Wilder said.
The hype for a fight that hasn't been signed was more entertaining than the fight that had just ended.
Fury and Klitschko will meet, likely in May, in a rematch of their fight. Wilder must make a mandatory defense against Alexander Povetkin.
The heavyweights fought a fantastic eight rounds and were closing in on a ninth until Wilder caught Szpilka flush with 36 seconds left in the round.
Charles Martin won the vacant IBF world heavyweight championship in an underwhelming bout against injured Vyacheslav Glazkov in the co-main event.
Polish fans outside the Barclays Center were singing and chanting Szpilka's name hours before the title bout and they livened up a packed arena. They went wild in the undercard when Adam Kownacki beat Danny Kelly. When Kownacki, a Polish-American heavyweight with a doughy frame, unloaded 42 punches in 40 seconds on a rattled Kelly, fans erupted in chants of "Polska! Polska!" Kownacki improved to 13-0 with a unanimous decision victory.
They sang songs for Szpilka and seemed to rally the fighter in his bid to become the first Polish heavyweight champion.
Szpilka went to the hospital for observation.
I don't want to hurt a man so he can't go home to his family," Wilder said. "We risk our lives every time we step in the ring. He's definitely in my prayers and I hope he's doing well."
Szpilka wasn't the only fighter who left the ring staring at the lights. Martin (23-0-1) was crowned the champ once the fight was stopped at 1:50 the third round because Glazkov fell twice and hurt his right knee.
Glazkov, from the Ukraine, suffered a torn ACL and the fight was stopped as the pro-Polish crowd booed the finish.
"He just didn't have enough power," Martin said. "I was going to catch up with him eventually."
The 29-year-old Martin, a rare left-handed heavyweight champion, withdrew from a scheduled fight last month once he had an unexpected shot at the title.
Glazkov, a 2008 Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist, had fought a much tougher slate of competition than Martin and entered a solid favorite. His body just wouldn't cooperate. Glazgov's leg appeared to give out on him when he threw a punch and fell a second time.
"This should have been my belt. I already had him figured out," Glazkov said. "I slipped and I felt a sharp pain in my right knee and I felt it give out. I'm very upset. I want a rematch when I recover."
Martin, the St. Louis fighter now based in Carson, California, fought a long string of mostly unknown fighters — and he was pretty much little known outside of the heavyweight division.
Martin has now thrown himself into the mix in the heavyweight division and called out Fury and Wilder.
The fights were billed as Brooklyn's first heavyweight title matches in 115 years. James J. Jeffries defended his championship and knocked out James J. Corbett on May 11, 1900, in the 23rd round of a scheduled 25-rounder in Coney Island.