Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder came face-to-face in the ring after the latter secured an explosive knockout win over Artur Szpilka on Saturday evening in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder floored his opponent in the ninth round, establishing his reputation as one of the top heavyweights around.
Fury, who became the Lineal, WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring magazine heavyweight champion after beating Wladimir Klitschko in November, was in attendance and quick to confirm he’d have no issues fighting the American, per SHOWTIME SPORTS:
SHOWTIME SPORTS @SHOsports
.@BronzeBomber and @Tyson_Fury exchange words following Wilder's explosive KO in his title defense. #WilderSzpilka https://t.co/FwKrmOJ1zq2016-1-17 04:59:20
After Fury bellowed “there's only one Tyson Fury into the microphone,” Wilder told the Brit that he would be happy to see the two face off, encouraging Fury to “make the date,” per Andy Charles of Sky Sports:
You're just a phony. This is just an act. You know where I am. You know what time, what place. I ain't scared of nobody, I'll come to your backyard, baby. I don't play this. You should have been an actor. When we do step in the ring, this ain't wrestling, this ain't the WWE, baby.
When you do step in this ring with me - if you do because this should've been done a long time ago—you can run around like you're a preacher all that you want but when you step into that ring I promise you I will baptise you.
Wilder did struggle at times against Szpilka as he retained his WBC heavyweight crown. But he proved emphatically that he has the power to knock opponents out with a shuddering right hand in the ninth round, leaving the Pole flat on the canvas and sparking concerns over his condition.
The American has now won all 36 of his professional fights, with 35 coming inside the distance. Here’s a look at the brutal finish to this heavyweight clash, per SHOWTIME SPORTS:
SHOWTIME SPORTS @SHOsports
.@BronzeBomber knocks out @szpilka_artur in round 9 and retains his WBC heavyweight title #AndStill #WilderSzpilka https://t.co/aB8J3liY8T2016-1-17 04:45:07
Fury is set to fight Klitschko in a rematch later this year. He became the first man in over a decade to defeat the Ukrainian heavyweight, snatching the aforementioned belts in a unanimous decision win in Germany.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix revealed his admiration for the Brit, who seems keen to take on any challenge at the moment:
Chris Mannix @ChrisMannixYS
I've got no problem with Tyson Fury. Willing to fight anyone, and when he does, he comes to fight. He wants to clown in the ring, let him.2016-1-17 05:12:19
Although Klitschko is entitled to a rematch against Fury, a potential unification bout between him and Wilder would certainly be a fight to excite the fans.
After so many years in which Klitschko has dominated the division, it’s certainly refreshing to see two different names at the summit of the weight class and potentially vying to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.