Wilder to Fight Wawrzyk in February
After the planned interim title fight between Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne fell apart, WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s next move became indefinite. Now, it has been announced that Wilder will defend his title against Polish fighter Andrzej Wawrzyk.
The Tuscaloosa Times reported that the fight will take place on Feb. 25 at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) has been on the sidelines after undergoing multiple surgeries due to a hand injury and a torn biceps. He sustained those injuries five months ago during a fight with Chris Arreola.
Because of his period of inactivity, the WBC created an interim title fight between Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne. The bout was planned to happen on Dec. 17 — until Povetkin failed his second drug test of the year, on the day of the fight. With the fight no longer sanctioned by the WBC, the interim title was scrapped and Stiverne pulled out of the fight. Povetkin knocked out a hopeless last-second replacement who boxed in a pair of running sneakers.
The opponent that Wilder settled on for his return, however, is not up to the caliber of either Stiverne (who Wilder already dispatched in 2015) or Povetkin.
Wawrzyk (33-1, 19 KOs) suffered his only loss to Povetkin back in 2013, and has since knocked out six less-than-stellar opponents. He is ranked by the WBC as the #12 heavyweight.
While Wilder will be criticized for taking such a lopsided fight, it is a forgivable tune-up given that he is returning from multiple surgeries and a long layoff.