Washington Steps in to Face Wilder

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has found a new opponent since his previous one Andrzej Wawrzyk was pulled from the Feb. 25 fight after testing positive for banned substance. Wilder will face the former USC football player Gerald Washington in the champion’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

The LA Times‘s Lance Pugmire first reported that the deal was made late on Sunday night.

Washington (18-0-1, 12 KOs) played for Pete Carroll at USC as a tight end and defensive end during the 2009-08 season. He later played on the practice squad for the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks and then took to boxing in 2012.

Promoter Lou DiBella said that Washington is an upgrade of a matchup for Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) and will put up a better fight than Wawrzyk would have.

"This is a good fight and a better fight now with Washington than it was with Wawrzyk," he said. "Gerald Washington is an imposing, strong cat who’s fought in Alabama before, has a big mouth and is a well-spoken kid.

"He’s a real threat, not a stooge, and is extremely interesting."

Wilder has not fought since July of last year, having undergone multiple surgeries to address a number of injuries.

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