Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Found his moment: Wilder successfully defends title against Washington

Wilder saw a sliver of weakness from his opponent and attacked. Move him with a left, then hit him with a right. The combination he wanted to set up all night earned him a technical knockout in the 
fifth round.

“When I did test the right, and him moving to his left, It was all timing,” Wilder said. “I even looked to my girl and I told her ‘I’m about to get him.’ You know, I delivered.”

The deadly 3-2 combination sent Washington to the ground. Even after getting up, the challenger’s legs wobbled, and he stumbled back into the ropes. Wilder’s winning combo was not always his game plan. In camp preparing for the fight, he had it on the back burner.

Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and his trainer, Jay Deas, made the decision to go to the combination moments before the fight. They knew Washington (18-1-1) would be anxious on the 
big stage.

“We changed our whole game plan in the dressing room just last minute,” Wilder said. “Changed the whole game plan. Cut him off with the right. He can’t go to the right. Jay was telling me, ‘the 3-2 is going to 
be there.’”

In front of 12,346 fans in Legacy Arena, Wilder wanted to stay calm. Washington was able to get to him a couple of times early on with punches. This was nothing for Wilder. He was expecting it.

“We knew that Washington would have a lot of adrenaline due to the fact that this is his first time fighting for a world title,” Wilder said. “He came to 
prove something.”

Wilder anticipated a slow build. He wanted to be surgical. He was waiting for his challenger to let his 
guard down.

“Once you become very experienced at what you do, you start to see signs,” Wilder said. “You start to see body language and different energy coming from the fighters. I knew it was coming, and that’s why I said I’m about to get him.”

Wilder’s pulverizing right hand, full of what he calls “Alabama country power” threw one of his best punches all night. As the fight moved into each round, he started to open up. He started to throw bigger and bigger punches.

One of Wilder’s consistently strong punches, however, was taken away because of Washington’s strong defense. Wilder was unable to connect on the left jab for most of the night. It is something he has leaned on recently in his career.

Wilder wanted to feel him out, but Washington’s energy and defense proved to be a tough match.

Washington felt like he could go toe-to-toe with Wilder. He felt like he held his own. His nerves proved to be his demise.

“I don’t know if I got caught in the moment in a little bit,” Washington said. “The fight was going back and forth like that in the first couple of rounds and I was like, ‘man.’ I wanted to get more, I wanted to go for it a little more.”

Wilder’s fourth successful title defense came in his home state of Alabama. Chants of “De-on-tay” rang out during each round of the fight. The crowd was clearly there to see the champ reign supreme.

After his knockout, Wilder celebrated with his belt, which he calls “Sophia,” as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” blared in the background. A true Alabama moment for Alabama’s champion.

“Fighting here in Alabama is a blessing,” Wilder said. “The people here show up to support me and I love them for it. I’m always going to support and be here for my Alabama family. To see the crowd’s response tonight meant a lot to me.”

Wilder’s plans for the future involve big goals. He’s already the WBC champion, but he wants more. Wilder wants to take on one of the other champions in his division to unify the belts.

On April 29, Anthony Joshua will face Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF heavyweight title as well as the vacant WBA title. Joseph Parker, the current WBO heavyweight champion, has a mandatory title defense coming up against 
Hughie Fury.

Wilder called out Parker after the fight, but wants to unify the belts in any way 
he can.

“I have the WBC, [Parker] has the WBO,” Wilder said. “Me and him fight each other to unify those belts. Klitschko and Joshua have the IBF added on with the WBA…at the end of the year, you have two and two to combine them together, it’s a brilliant fight.”

Wilder’s knockout proved how powerful his punches can be. It only took a couple of combinations to turn the fight 
completely over.

Tonight, the champion wanted to prove that any punch he lands is bad news for 
his opponent.

“Whether it’s the first round or the 12th round, I’m very dangerous,” Wilder said. “I can get a guy out at any time, especially when that right hand lands.”

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