The Star Early Edition

Wilder makes short work of poor Stiverne

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OVER: The ref­eree pulls Deon­tay Wilder away from Ber­mane Stiverne af­ter Wilder knocked him out on Satur­day. Pic­ture: AP NEW YORK: When Deon­tay Wilder fi­nally took off the gold mask he wore into the ring, he dis­played a fierce scowl.

That look never dis­ap­peared from his face as he knocked out the only man who’d ever gone the dis­tance with him.

Wilder sent Ber­mane Stiverne to the can­vas three times in the open­ing round to de­fend his WBC heavy­weight ti­tle Satur­day night at Bar­clays Cen­ter.

“So much frus­tra­tion, it just seemed like my ca­reer, it’s been crazy . so many guys us­ing PEDs,” Wilder said. “I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am the best, but I wanna prove I am the best.”

There wasn’t much ques­tion of that in the Show­time card that ended in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion.

The 32-year-old Wilder jabbed through much of the first round while Stiverne, who hadn’t fought in two years, moved slowly and cau­tiously around the ring. Sud­denly, Wilder lashed out with a huge right that felled Stiverne (25-3-1).

Al­ready, Wilder was cel­e­brat­ing, but Stiverne got up. Un­wisely, it turned out, be­cause an­other big right as part of a flurry of punches sent the 38-yearold chal­lenger back down.

At that point, Wilder climbed atop the ropes in a neu­tral cor­ner, shout­ing at Stiverne’s trainer to end things.

When they didn’t, an­other right and then a mam­moth left hook sent down the chal­lenger for the fi­nal time with his “Alabama Slam­mer”.

“One cham­pion, one face, one name, he goes by Deon­tay Wilder,” the WBC champ said.

Wilder won the belt from Stiverne in 2015 in a 12-round de­ci­sion. He re­peat­edly in­sisted Stiverne would go down early in this one. Wilder kept his word. He is 39-0 with 38 knock­outs. Wilder now can set his sights on some­thing he has been promis­ing through­out 2017: uni­fy­ing the heavy­weight belts. He wants England’s An­thony Joshua, the WBA/IBF champ, some­time next year, and was busy is­su­ing chal­lenges af­ter dis­pos­ing of Stiverne.

“I’ve been wait­ing on that fight for a long time now,” he said. “I de­clare war upon you. Do you ac­cept my challenge?

“I know I’m the cham­pion, I know I’m the best. Are you up for the test?”

This was Wilder’s sixth de­fence, and his most fe­ro­cious. Stiverne never had a chance. He was a sub­sti­tute for Jose Or­tiz, who failed a drug test.

Stiverne did not land a punch and never should have both­ered show­ing up.

Ear­lier, Sergey Lip­inets won a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over Ak­i­hiro Kondo for the va­cant IBF ju­nior wel­ter­weight ti­tle – AP

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