WBC Heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder makes a quick return to the ring January 16th. He will defend against world ranked Artur Szpilka of Poland. The bout will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and be aired live on Showtime. This will be the third defense for Wilder in about 7 months. This is the kind of activity you usually see from prospects and not heavyweight champions of the world.
Wilder has scored knockouts in both of his defenses but was pushed hard by both challengers before getting them out of there. He was willing to step it up a bit more for his next challenge but multiple challengers declined the fight. Unbeaten Vyacheslav Glazkov was in the running but instead opted to fight for the vacant IBF world title on the same card versus Charles Martin. Which is understandable. Purse demands to fight Wilder on the short notice also came into play for deals not getting made with other opponents. Szpilka stepped up and took the challenge and it is indeed a challenge. He will without a doubt be one of the toughest challenges that Wilder has faced as a professional.
The timing is indeed right for Wilder to be stepping up his game as looming is a showdown with his mandatory challenger and former world champion Alexander Povetkin of Russia. Povetkin like Wilder has been very busy but Povetin has been facing much tougher competition. There are at least a few different ways you can look at this. One is that Wilder could enter his fight with Povetkin as the fresher fighter of the two. Another way to look at is that in a possible longer drawn out battle of attrition it could be Povetkin who may have the mental edge having been pushed against much tougher competition. There really is no telling for sure until they finally face each other. The one thing you can almost certainly count on is that ring rust will not be an issue for Wilder in any of his upcoming fights with his current pace of activity.