After some awkward photo ops and some uncertain promotional shoots, Deontay Wilder has an opponent set for his January 16th title defense. The only American heavyweight titlist will take on Artur Szpilka live on ShowTime Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder was originally trying to secure a fight against Vyacheslav Glazkov before tonight’s announcement, although it was never officially announced. Kathy Duva, who handles Glazkov’s promotional contract, admitted as much was true regarding the negotiations between Wilder and Glazkov.
However, upon Tyson Fury’s IBF/WBA/WBO title win over Wladimir Klitschko, Glazkov, in position as the IBF mandatory, opted out of the Wilder fight to pursuit his title fight with Fury, who was almost certain to not make his mandatory for the IBF.
That left Wilder without a dance partner, however, Szpilka was always a backup plan. Reports suggest that Szpilka initially turned down the fight due to a low offer from the Wilder camp, but he is now officially a go according to multiple reports.
One of those reports came from Dan Rafael of ESPN who later tweeted out that Shannon Briggs was offered the fight but turned it down because he was not given the $2.0M he requested.