Undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title against eighth ranked Polish sensation Artur Szpilk. Don't make a move without reading this preview & get our free boxing pick.
Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KO’s)
Twenty-six-year-old Artur Szpilka was defeated and knocked out for the first time in his professional career when he tangled with Bryant Jennings back in January of 2014. Jennings took command from the opening bell and leveled Szpilka with a right hand in the sixth round before earning the TKO in the tenth and final round. The Polish brawler was beaten in all aspects of the fight and while his defense was insufficient to contain Jennings his offense did nothing to stop the oncoming assault.
“He got me with the body shots. They were the things that hurt me and wore me down," said Szpilka. "I could feel his strength was much stronger than mine. I feel like I let everybody down. I thought I was ready for the big fights. I’m still young and I’ll be back.’’
Szpilka was able to bounce back in his next fight seven months later and captured the vacant IBF International Heavyweight strap with a unanimous decision win over Tomasz Adamek in his native Poland. Since then he stopped Ty Cobb, Manuel Quezada and Yasmany Consuegra leading to his current four-fight winning streak headed into this one on January 16th.
Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KO’s)
Deontay Wilder’s only professional fight in which he failed to score a knockout was against the then reigning WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne who took Wilder the distance only to lose on all the judge’s scorecards. At 6’7” Deontay Wilder is another in a string of towering heavyweights and his record speaks for itself. There may be a few heavyweights on the horizon that could compete with Wilder but his opponent at the Barclays Center on January 16th is certainly not one of them.
The fighter many thought they would see Wilder competing against in January was not Artur Szpilka but No. 3 ranked Vyacheslav Glazkov. However, Glazkov and his inept management team decided to go after a fight with newly crowned WBA (Super), WBO, Ring and IBO heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. Fury was not going to decline a big money option for a rematch with the recently vanquished Wladimir Klitschko to fight Glazkov for a fraction of what he will be making in his next title defense. Thus, Glazkow will be fighting for the vacant IBF title when he takes on Charles Martin. Nevertheless, Wilder will now take on a brawler in Szpilka with an eye towards unifying the heavyweight division with fights against Fury and anyone else who claims a heavyweight strap.
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It would be a stunner if Wilder lost to the Polish southpaw but anything is possible in martial combat – just ask Ronda Rousey. If you are bent on including Szpilka in your boxing picks then you might as well bet him as a prop wager with a knockout as opposed to a decision because this one will not go twelve rounds. Szpilka has the proverbial puncher’s chance but if former WBC champ Bermane Stiverne couldn’t rock Wilder then I doubt a lesser version of Stiverne will be able to do more.
The boxing odds makers have installed Deontay Wilder as a prohibitive favorite and with good reason. The reigning WBC champion is better in every facet of the game but will have to be leery of a fighter like Szpilka who knows from the get-go that catching the champ with a sneaky left cross will be the key to any chance he has of winning the title and upsetting the heavyweight landscape. Deontay Wilder knows this as well and will be looking for those gaping holes when Szpilka throws a haymaker and Wilder is there to counterpunch him into oblivion.
Boxing Pick: Deontay Wilder -1000 at Bet365