Deontay Wilder vs Artur Szpilka & Vyacheslav Glazkov vs Charles Martin
BY KID HERSH
From Barclay Center in New York came a pair of heavyweight bouts. First up was Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-0-1, 13ko's) vs Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20ko's) for the vacant IBF world heavyweight title. Czar is ranked #1 by the IBF and Martin #3, with Czar not reaching what is thought to be his full potential yet and Martin an unknown, so it could make for a pretty interesting fight. The fighters were very tentative and cautious of each other in the first round, with Glazkov firing off a jab and Martin not opening up until the end of the round, where he was really sitting down on his straight left when he let it go. The pace was still pretty slow in the second round as the crowd got restless from the lack of engagement from the fighters. Martin started to get more aggressive and land straight left hands towards the end of the second round. He carried that momentum into the third round where he landed a powerful left hand early in the round that looked to me like it shook up Glazkov. Irregardless though, the fight would end in anticlimactic fashion when Glazkov would hit the canvas a couple times from what looked like slips or balance issues butt turned out to be a knee injury. He chose to not continue any further and Martin became a heavyweight champion just like that.
Before the main event kicked off they had Mike Tyson ringside for an interview, as well as Lennox Lewis. Holyfield had a recorded message and video as well. It's great to see these legends get involved with the WBC American title holder Deontay Wilder. Fury and Povetkin are also in the audience for this one. Main event time featuring Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34ko's) vs Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15ko's). A ten count was tolled for Jose Sulaiman and Howard Davis Jr. before the entrances and introductions. The fighters were extremely cautious of one another in the first round, carrying the apprehension of each other's power into the second round as well. Surprisingly Szpilka looks the more relaxed man to me, as he is calm and picking his spots and Wilder is very wild and looping and not keeping his hands up - looking nervous and unsure so far. It wasn't until the fourth round that Wilder got any sort of rhythm going, as he started to line up his right hand and score with it consistently after popping his jab off to set the punch up. The fifth round showed that it is still any bodies fight - as Szpilka really took control back over in the final minute of the fifth round by using good footwork to move inside and land accurate punches, with one right hand looking like it may have even buzzed Wilder momentarily. The fight was still very tense - with that same feeling it opened up with where either man could land the final punch at any given time. The seventh round was a very interesting one a well, with Wilder starting off hot with a few powerful right hands that Szpilka ate with no issues, only to rally back at the end of the round and for the first time in the fight I thought I saw some wear out of one of them - Wilder, who seemed to be breathing heavy and moving slower. Likely from the body work Szpilka has been putting in thus far. The action was still close and hard to pick between the two men until the shot that everyone could feel was going to land at some point did land - a right hook by Wilder that cracked home on Szpilka's chin flush as he walked right into it. The shot put him out cold, even causing the paramedics to put him in a full neck brace and carry him out of the ring as a precaution from the violent knockout.
The post fight was hilarious, with Tyson Fury entering the ring and the two champions jawing at each other over a unification fight. Both guys said they would blast the other easily in his backyard so there shouldn't be any problem with the fight venue based off of that jawing. The antics continued for quite a while, with Fury even stripping some clothes off in the ring and wanting to fight right then and there. The heavyweight division is fun again!!!