Deontay Wilder knocks out Bermane Stiverne in First Round, retains WBC Title

BROOKLYN, New York - Alabama Native and WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder lived up to his promise of a knockout Saturday night, destroying Bermane Stiverne in the first round of their rematch before 10,924 to retain his title for the sixth time.

Stiverne had been the only man to go the distance with Wilder, doing so in their first fight, and the one motivation for Wilder in the rematch was to knock him out.

He did it, and he did it early. He dropped an out-of-shape Stiverne three times before referee Arthur Mercante waved it off at 2:59.

Wilder had lost out on the opportunity for two marquee fights because his opponents -- first Alexander Povetkin last year and then Luis "King Kong" Ortiz last month -- failed drug tests.

The cancellations of the fights left Wilder emotional and upset, particularly the one with the big-punching Ortiz, whom he was supposed fight on Saturday night at Barclays Center. Wilder instead faced Stiverne, his mandatory challenger and the former titleholder from whom he took the title by lopsided decision in January 2015.

Wilder was so upset over the change of opponent that at the final prefight news conference on Thursday promised a knockout in graphic terms, saying, "The ambulance better be ready. The medical teams better be ready. The referee better be ready. They better have that towel to be able to throw it in because every blow is going to mean something. ... The only thing he's going to be able to do is pick his spot on the ground where he's going to lay at."

Wilder would have preferred to face Ortiz, but Ortiz tested positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide, in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Sept. 22, he was dropped from the fight.

That left Wilder to instead face Stiverne, who was scheduled to fight on the undercard before being moved up the main event. Stiverne showed up a portly 254.75 pounds and even though he outweighed Wilder by 34 pounds, he had nothing in their fight Saturday.

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