In forty days, Deontay Wilder will defend his heavyweight title at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York, but he still does not know who he will be facing. A possible option may be a rematch with the man who he won the title from in January- Bermane Stiverne.
Stiverne was never the first option for this fight and most would not be thrilled to hear about the two having a rematch. The leading candidate for the title shot against Wilder was originally Vyacheslav Glazkov and a deal between the two parties was in the works, but things got a bit complicated.
When Tyson Fury shocked the world by defeating Wladimir Klitschko, he became the holder of every major belt in the division besides Wilder’s WBC belt. This includes the IBF belt, and the #1 mandatory IBF contender is Glazkov.
For this reason, the IBF ordered a purse bid by December 12th for a Fury-Glazkov clash, despite the fact that this fight is not going to happen due to Wladimir exercising his rematch clause with Fury. Tyson will be stripped of his IBF belt for not negotiating his next fight against Glazkov.
Long story short: Glazkov turned down the Wilder matchup and a shot at his belt to fight for a vacant IBF belt against Charles Martin, and if Martin gets by Breazeale this Saturday then that fight will presumably be made next. This move by Team Glazkov could be looked at as an easy way out, but more importantly it leaves Wilder and his team in a pickle.
The fighter they were negotiating with exclusively was Glazkov. With him out of the equation, the only other reasonable options seem to be Artur Szpilka — who apparently turned down an offer for the fight — a contender coming off a draw such as Steve Cunningham, Amir Mansour, and Bermane Stiverne.
Stiverne could get the shot based off the fact that he claims he was not healthy or out of shape for their first meeting. Also, Stiverne is already scheduled to fight on the same card as Wilder on the 16th, so it would make sense in that regard. The fight itself, however, would be difficult to sell and one that Wilder fans would have a hard time defending.
Wilder beat Stiverne easily in the first fight, and Stiverne has only fought once since he lost his title- a fight versus well-known journeyman Derric Rossy in which Rossy knocked Bermane down in the first round, only to lose a closely contested ten round unanimous decision.
Heavyweight contenders such as Szpilka, Cunningham, Mansour, all may be still in the picture for Wilders choice, but the front runner at the moment may be Stiverne, who would hopefully make the most of the opportunity and show up to the fight in tip top shape.
A performance like the one Stiverne had in his last fight usually doesn’t warrant a title shot in most cases, but in a dire situation like this one, Stiverne just may be fortunate enough to earn himself a second crack at “The Bronze Bomber.”