Deontay Wilder: The 40-0 world champion who deserves more credit

Boxer Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder is unbeaten with a 98% KO average
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Wilder may have to wait for his crack at Anthony Joshua but Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse tells us why he's a threat to the Londoner's titles...

"This is heavyweight boxing – it’s all about big punches and that’s why we love it"

On paper Deontay Wilder has it all. A 40-fight unbeaten record - 39 of those wins coming by way of knock-out - height, power, youth and a WBC heavyweight title wrapped around his waist. Yet still the American continues to split opinion among boxing fans.

Some make him a future ruler of the division and the man to put USA back on top of the game's most-popular division. Others say he's crude, clumsy, has been lucky to date and his conduct in front of the media is shocking at best, deserving of a lengthy ban at worst.

The fact an athlete with a 98% KO average bringing excitement to a weight category that suffered during the era of Klitschko dominance isn't well liked may sound strange but both camps offer valid points.

If you were a boxing trainer and a kid walked through the doors of the local amateur club with Wilder's style you'd change just about everything, starting with his defence.

Wilder can't win - even as his run continues

The Alabama born puncher may be awkward and difficult for purists to take to - but it's a style that works and has lifted him to the top of the sport. Often out-boxed by better schooled opponents, one swooping overhand right serves as the great equaliser and a points lead does fighters little good when they're flat on their back.

It is fair to say Wilder can't win with some people. He beats Bermane Stiverne in the first round late last year and his opponent was a bum who shouldn't have been in the ring in the first place. Stiverne remains the only man to have taken The Bronze Bomber 12 rounds back in 2015. Would Wilder be the first heavyweight champion to pad out his record against poor opponents? Of course not, all the greats of the game over the years have done it.

Take on a genuinely dangerous rival in Luis Ortiz - a previously unbeaten man with a stunning amateur pedigree - knock him out and the critics are back, jabbing the finger and saying the victor was losing on points and needed a big punch to get through. This is heavyweight boxing - it's all about big punches and that's why we love it.

Champ's performance was impressive

The truth is Wilder's win over Ortiz was stunning and deserves much more credit than we have given. The Cuban - a supremely talented fighter - went into that contest boasting a 28-0-0 CV with 24 knockouts. He had skill and power but was put to the sword. King Kong had success against the champion on the outside, but Wilder's power was obvious and after dropping his man to the canvas in round five, the victor twice had Ortiz over in round 10 before referee David Fields called a halt.

With recent news reports suggesting Anthony Joshua will next face Alexander Povetkin - the man who KO'd David Price in five earlier this year - it looks like fight fans may have to wait a little longer to see AJ and Wilder share a ring to unify the division.

That's a shame but we have no doubt it'll happen one day soon, and Betfair Sportsbook traders give fans the chance to get in early and secure a bit of value. If the world heavyweight champions were to meet, Joshua would go in as betting favourite with a market best price 4/7 available at Betfair vs the 11/8 on Wilder.

The bout not to go the distance is an obvious pick at 2/9 but there's more if taking sides. AJ by KO/TKO is currently 11/10 top price fav, Wilder up for grabs at a tempting 7/4. We've seen Joshua hurt in the past by both Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko so that wouldn't be the worst bet.

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