In front of a hometown crowd of 11,974, Wilder controlled the fight from bell to bell, dropping Arreola in the fourth round, and dominating the battle tested challenger. Despite a broken right hand and a torn bicep muscle, Wilder managed to persevere and secure the stoppage.
Televised action opened with Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz Jr. (18-1, 8 KOs) defeating Sammy “The Sergeant” Vasquez Jr. (21-1, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision (96-93, 95-94, 95-94) in an exhilarating 10-round welterweight showdown.
The fight was initially announced as a split draw before Diaz was eventually given the nod.
The second televised bout featured unbeaten rising star Erickson “Hammer” Lubin (16-0, 11 KOs) scoring a unanimous decision (80-72, 80-72, 80-72) over Ivan Montero (20-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-round junior middleweight bout.
Here is what the fighters had to say after their bouts:
“Wilder will be taken to a local hospital tonight, and will be seeing a specialist this week to assess the damage to his right hand and right bicep muscle.”
What round did you hurt your hand:
“It was early – the third or the fourth round. It was from an (awkward) punch. I hurt the hand first, and then the bicep.
Was he tougher than you thought:
“He was just as tough as I thought he would be. I know he was scared of the right hand for sure. I think I would have gotten him out of there (in the fourth round) if he didn’t hold the ropes. On that last one he told me in my ear, I had to hold the ropes. I had to hold the ropes.
“I got one of the best jabs in the world, because I have super trainers. I got Mark Breland, who showed me all kinds of ways to throw my jab. I got Russ Ambers who shows me techniques. I have Jay my long-time trainer on everything, and of course I have Cuz Hill who gives me great work on the mitts.
“Look at my hand, this thing hurts.
What does it say about your toughness that you were able to fight for four rounds with a broken right hand and a torn right bicep:
“Man, it let’s me know I’m a force to be reckoned with. If I have one hand or two hands, you can’t deny that I’m the best in the world. I’m going to still give it to you whether I have one hand or two hands. I won’t stop. As a champion it’s my duty to keep going no matter what I’m going through. Pain ain’t nothing to me. I got a high tolerance on pain. When you’re dealing with fights, it’s not over until it’s over. Whoever fights me they have to be ready. They just can’t come in and think they’re going to bully me or think they’re going to out-tough me or think they’re going to out-punch me, because there ain’t no out-bullying, there ain’t no out-toughing, there ain’t no out-punching, because I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. That means a lot to me.
How satisfying was it to put on such a gutty performance before your home State fans:
“It was very satisfying to punish a guy like Chris Arreola. I straight punished him. I didn’t get my knockout like I want, but it was a knockout. I’ll take that on my record. I still advanced to 37-0 with 36 KOs.”
“When he started taunting in the eighth round I knew it was all just part of boxing. No big deal.
“The fourth round knockdown was a situation where he just hit me with the perfect shot. Nothing I could do about it.
“(Deontay’s) movement was really tough. He moved perfectly behind his jab. It’s not that it’s even frustrating; it was just I had to catch up to him on runs like that, but it was a fun fight.
“He just kept me on the outside, I couldn’t figure him out — plain and simple. I have to give him all the respect in the world because he was just a much better fighter.
How did you make it out of Round 4?
“Let’s be honest, man. It takes a real fighter to be in the ring with someone like him. He’s a big man. We’re in the heavyweight division, man, this is the hurt business. You have to know how to deal with adversity. I get punched, I’m going to get back up.
“I have to give him credit for using his distance, using his jab and just keeping me at bay.”
“I knew in my heart I lost that fight. I tried my hardest but there were things I should have done that I didn’t do. We can’t look in the past. He’s a hell of fighter. He’s an Olympic gold medalist for a reason. He had a tough decision loss to Lamont Peterson. To me he was an undefeated Olympic gold medalist.
“I take nothing away from the man. He’s a hell of a fighter. I’m a hell of a fighter. At the end of the day we put on a great show.
“We’ll huddle up and start back at the drawing board. I’ve got to start knocking those names down again.
Ever been in a situation where the scores were added wrong:
“I’ve never been in a situation where I had to wait for them to add up the scores again, because obviously I was undefeated. This is my first loss. Losses you learn from. Losses just mean you have room to grow. We’ll take this and come back strong the next time.
You hurt him in the 10th round:
“I know I had him hurt as soon as I hit him in the head twice. I saw him wobble and grab ahold of me. He was very slippery. As soon as I tried to push him away my hands would slip away. Hey, it was a hell of a fight. I take nothing away from the man.”
“When I first heard it was a split draw, I felt like I was the winner and I got robbed like in my fight against Lamont Peterson.
“I definitely feel like the scores should have been wider on the cards, but I understand. The first couple of rounds I was feeling him out, but after those first couple I feel like I won every round.
“Since Vasquez is taller than me and has longer reach, my plan of attack was to stay inside and fight him at a close distance.
“I took this fight on only 15 days notice, and before this I was preparing for a right handed fighter, so it was a bit of an adjustment. I only had two weeks to make the changes that I needed to. I’m thankful to my team for getting me ready for this fight.
“Fighting on a FOX and FOX Deportes primetime card and looking as good as I did makes me very happy. I’m ready for anyone at 140 or 147 lbs.”
“I’m definitely not upset with my performance. The referee was letting him get away with a lot of clinching and head butting. All in and all I’m happy with my performance. I’m still undefeated. I’m going to keep stepping up in these fights and upgrading my competition.
Anything you wanted to do that you didn’t get a chance to do:
“Hell, I wanted to knock him out. But the ref wasn’t really calling him for holding or even warning him for holding so that he wouldn’t hold as much and head butt as much. He was tough. I give it to him. He came to fight.
Some guys come in there to survive. That was definitely the type of fighter he was. He was in there to survive. He didn’t want to go home with a knockout loss.
Was this a big step up fight for you:
“Every fight was a step up fight for me. I take every fight seriously. There are always things I can learn and improve on. This was definitely one of those fights.”
“I was happy to go the distance tonight, and I agree with the decision. He definitely won, but I thought I put on a good fight. He didn’t do that much damage to me.
“I was honored to get this fight and the opportunity to fight on national television. I hope the fans enjoyed my style of fighting. I look forward to getting back in the ring soon.
“Right now, I’m just going to take some time and assess my options, but I’d like the rematch with him some time in the future.”