Deontay Wilder’s Next Title Defense – According to various news outlets, WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) will defend his title against Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) on July 16 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Wilder was scheduled to fight Alexander Povetkin in a mandatory title defense on May 21 in Moscow, but that match was scuttled when Povetkin tested positive for the banned drug meldonium. The WBC, which is still investigating the matter, ruled that Wilder was entitled to a voluntary defense until things were sorted out.
The 30-year-old Wilder, born and raised in Tuscaloosa, made his first two title defenses in his home state, dismissing outclassed Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas here in Birmingham.
Chris Arreola, born in Los Angeles, resides in the southern California community of Escondido. This will be his second stab at the WBC World heavyweight title. In 2009, he was stopped in 10 rounds by Vitali Klitschko. The 35-year-old, 6’3” Arreola has had weight issues in the past, but came in a relatively trim 236 ½ pounds for his last outing on Dec. 12 when he met Travis Kauffman in a 12-round contest at San Antonio. Arreola got off the deck to win a narrow decision, but the verdict was changed to “no contest” when he tested positive for marijuana. Arreola also tested positive for marijuana in July of 2011 after winning a lopsided decision over Friday Ahunanya at Atlantic City. The man likes his weed.
It will be interesting to see how this new development sits with Alexander Povetkin’s Russian promoter Andrey Ryabinsky. On May 30, Povetkin’s management issued a press release saying that new tests taken after the Wilder-Povetkin match was cancelled proved that the boxer was clean. Ryabinsky threatened to sue the testing agency and everyone in the media that assailed Povetkin for being a cheater.
Notwithstanding his impressive record, Deontay Wilder has yet to fight a top-shelf opponent. Chris Arreola isn’t ranked in the top 15 by any of the major sanctioning bodies. Unconfirmed rumors have the Wilder-Arreola match being televised on FOX.
Deontay Wilder’s Next Title Defense