“When you talk about the best American heavyweight prospects and all of that, Deontay Wilder is right at the top of my list. I think he’s a good prospect. I think that Wilder’s a very good fighter. As far as the American fighters, he’s No. 1 to me among the American heavyweights. I think that he could step up and challenge in one year. I’m talking within the next 12 months, if he can step up and challenge other fighters.
“This fight that he’s got coming up on Saturday, it ain’t s–t. It ain’t nothing. He’s got to get away from fights like that. Forget about the record. He’s got to start fighting some real fighters, and when he does, you know what? He’ll beat them. So I think that the best heavyweight prospect for winning the heavyweight title is Deontay Wilder.” — Manny Steward, who trains Wladimir Klitschko.
Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will pursue his 24th knockout over as many victories without a loss against Trinindad and Tobago’s Kertson “The Warrior” Manswell on Saturday night’s card at the Mobile Civic Center Arena Expo Hall in Mobile, Ala.
A 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, the 6-foot-7 Wilder, 26, is coming off of June’s third-round knockout victory over former heavyweight title challenger Owen Beck.
Wilder, who will be out-weighed 228.5 pounds to 251, is determined to show his world championship-caliber talents against the 6-4 Manswell (22-5, 17 KOs) in a clash that is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
With the heavyweight division being dominated by the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Wilder is trying to become the first U.S.-born fighter to hold a heavyweight crown since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s belt.
In 2006, Hasim Rahman held the WBC strap while the IBF title was around the waist of Chris Byrd. Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz, the first Latino to win a heavyweight belt, held the WBA title from 2001 to 2005..
The older of the Klitschko siblings, Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KOs), is coming off a unanimous decision over Dereck Chisora in March that represented his 12th straight win and his ninth stoppage during that run. Vitali’s last loss was more than nine years ago by disputed sixth-round technical stoppage (on cuts) to Lennox Lewis in June of 2003. Vitali, who will next face Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KOs) on Sept. 8, turned 41 on July 19.
Klitschko’s 36-year-old brother, RING champion Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs), recently earned his 16th consecutive win and his 12th stoppage victory during that time. Owner of the IBF, WBA and WBO belts, Wladimir is coming off a sixth-round knockout of Tony “The Tiger” Thompson in a July 7 rematch of his 11th-round stoppage of Thompson in July of 2008.
“When you talk about the best American heavyweight prospects and all of that, Deontay Wilder is right at the top of my list. I think he’s a good prospect. I think that Wilder’s a very good fighter. As far as the American fighters, he’s No. 1 to me among the American heavyweights. I think that he could step up and challenge in one year,” said Manny Steward, who trains Wladimir Klitschko.
“I’m talking within the next 12 months, if he can step up and challenge other fighters. This fight that he’s got coming up on Saturday, it ain’t s–t. It ain’t nothing. He’s got to get away from fights like that. Forget about the record. He’s got to start fighting some real fighters, and when he does, you know what? He’ll beat them. So I think that the best heavyweight prospect for winning the heavyweight title is Deontay Wilder.”
Manswell, who is 35, has replaced Kelvin Price (13-0, 6 KOs), of Pensacola, Fla., who pulled out of the bout due to a rib injury.
Although Manswell is coming off a third-round stoppage loss to Alexander Ustinov (27-0, 21 KOs) in March, he has gone the distance over eight and 10 rounds with former world titleholder Ruslan Chagaev and ex-title challenger Cedric Boswell respectively.
Wilder’s clash with Manswell will be televised live on FOX Sports Net and FOX Deportes starting at 10 p.m. ET, 9 p.m CT and 7 p.m. PT. FUEL TV will televise Wilder-Manwell on Sunday, September 30 at noon ET and 9 a.m. PT.
Wilder spoke to RingTV.com in this Q&A.
RingTV.com: What is it going to be like to fight not only in your home state, but also, on national television?
So anywhere that I am fighting in Alabama, that’s home for me. So, that’s a great feeling in itself. But to be fighting on a national network, and then being the main event of it, it’s like,’it’s about damn time, you know what I mean?
So, that’s a great feeling as well. This way, I get to display and to showcase my talents off and out to the world. It’s been a long road and one of improvement for me. There’s been a lot of work that I’ve done that I’ve done on my part.
But the world is going to see why we keep saying, and why half of the world keeps saying that Deontay Wilder is going to be America’s next heavyweight champion of the world. On Saturday night, they will see that on the FoxSports network.
RingTV.com: What is the most improved aspect of your skills that you are most anxious to display on Saturday night?
They know about that, but what I really want to display the most is my jab. I want to show the world that jab as well as the speed of my punches. I’ve got some of the best footwork in the business.
I’m also one of the fastest in the business. I’m going to show them definitely come tomorrow night. I mean, I beat Owen Beck on just using my jab. I threw maybe five right hands.
But the rest of the whole fight up through the third round was nothing but jabs. I mean, I punished him with the jab. I ended up breaking bones in his face and put stitches in his lip and I knocked him down with my jab as well.
So most people, when they spar me, they say that I hit like a Russian with my jab alone. It’s like a right hand. So I just want to put that on display.
RingTV.com: Given that Manswell has gone the distance with guys such as Ruslan Chagaev and Cedric Boswell, would you like to get the knockout or get rounds in or a combination of both?
I work hard and that’s the trainig part. If you can get past the training part by going 110 rounds there, then when it’s time to show up to fight, that’s the easy part. That’s the fun part of boxing.
Many people don’t know me, but I can go, shoot, 30 rounds if that’s what has to be done. Going the rounds are nothing for me. I’m in shape, I’m young.
I never get out of shape, and that’s the key. So on Saturday night, I’m looking to go a couple of rounds just to display what I have, and then comes the boom!
RingTV.com: Would be satisfied with a decision?
DW: Well, if I get a decision, that’s 10 rounds of discipline and of Deontay Wilder showing my talent. That’s going to give me some rounds. But of course it’s going to be something where I definitely want to make a statement.
He’s been in there with some tough guys and some of the best. The knockout would definitely be a statement, and I’m a knockout artist, man. He’s been in with some good guys, but he hasn’t been in there with a Deontay Wilder, though.
They call me one of the hardest hitters in the division, and I want to maintain that status. I didn’t say it, but if it’s out there, then, hey, why not live up to that. I’m going to definitely go and look for a knockout.
There’s definitely going to be a knockout because he threatened me at the press conference saying that he was going to kill me. That this fight is going to be the death of me.
I don’t take death threats well, so that’s something that has added fuel to the fire, so it’s definitely going down. I’m definitely going for the knockout all day.
RingTV.com: How far away do you believe that you are away from world title contention?
It’s just a matter of time for me, man, there are a lot of names out there that we want to fight, but since I’ve been in the gym, I’ve been working so hard. Everybody knows that when it comes to me, man, I’m a career-breaker.
There’s a lot of motivation on my part knowing that if I lose, they’ll drop me down. Everybody wants to get to the top. Hopefully, we can get some guys to stop running and start fighting now, because we’re definitely looking for them.
Photo by Craig Benett, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Jim Everett, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Craig Benett, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org