Last month exciting heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder notched his 31st victory against no losses with an easier than expected 1st round blowout of fringe contender Malik Scott. Wilder's progress has been steady and although he has faced no real threat, he has climbed the ladder into the top 10 and is now ready to fight other contenders.
Just under 161 months ago current heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko destroyed fringe contender Phil Jackson in two rounds to notch his 30th victory in 31 fights. Klitschko's progress was steady and although he stumbled along the way losing by TKO to journeyman Ross Puritty, he climbed the ladder into the top 10 and was ready to fight other contenders.
Let’s compare these two fighters careers after 31 bouts to contrast the possible future meeting they may one day have.
Name: Wladimir Klitschko Height: 6'6” Weight: 236 lbs. Age: 23 Record: 30-1 (27) Notable Victories: UD8, TKO8 Everett Martin, RTD4 Joseph Chingangu, TKO8 Alex Schulz, KO2 Phil Jackson
Apparent strengths after 31 bouts: A great amateur pedigree. Punching power, jab, fluid offensive assault and combination power punching.
Apparent weakness after 31 bouts: Chin and stamina, he was hurt by gatekeeper Everett Martin, suffered a knockdown vs. Steve Pannell and a TKO loss to hard punching but limited Ross Puritty.
How it turned out: Less than a year later Wladimir dominated Chris Byrd for his first heavyweight world title. His chin and stamina problems would continue to plague him until his time training under the legendary Emmanuel Steward. Steward taught Klitschko the blueprint to use his size and skill to their maximum effectiveness and this led to Wladimir becoming the most dominant heavyweight of his era.
Name: Deontay Wilder Height: 6'6” Weight: 227 lbs. Age: 28 Record: 31-0 (31) Notable Victories: KO3 Kelvin Price, TKO1 Audley Harrison, KO1 Sergei Liakhovich, KO1 Malik Scott
Apparent strengths after 31 bouts: Punching power, killer instinct, and reach.
Apparent weaknesses after 31 bouts: Lack of an amateur pedigree. Chin, Wilder was hurt by gatekeeper Harold Sconiers, and was in deep trouble before recovering well.
How will it turn out? Wilder should be fighting other contenders from this point out. He has progressed to the point where blowing out fringe contenders and faded former champs will no longer help him progress. It is time to test the thoroughbred against the likes of a Tony Thompson or Kubrat Pulev before getting that big title shot vs. Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko.
As you can see, Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder had similar career paths after 31 bouts. Both were largely untested, both dominated the fringes of the division and both hit road blocks. Perhaps in 10 years Wilder will be on top of the division and there will be another hard hitting young heavyweight on the horizon looking to take his spot.