WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is planning a destructive start to 2017 when the American puncher takes on Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk in the New Year.
The 31-year-old makes a long-awaited return from injury to put his green and gold strap on the line after completing rest and recovery from two bouts of a surgery over the past few months.
Victory over Chris Arreola in July caused Wilder to take several months out due to bicep and hand ailments and the ‘Bronze Bomber’ intends to make a statement to the other champions in his hometown of Alabama on February 25.
“I’m excited about defending my world championship for a fifth time and in front of my great fans at Legacy Arena in Birmingham on February 25,” said Wilder.
“It’s always fun to display my talents in front of the hometown fans. It’s an opportunity that I always look forward to and brings out the best in me.
“I’m healthy and ready to put on a fantastic show,” he added.
Wilder has set his sights on unifying the division in the coming year but first may have to deal with the winner of a clash between Bermane Stiverne and the next available WBC contender in the rankings.
Stiverne was due to fight Alexander Povetkin until the Russian’s second positive brush with VADA ended the stipulated encounter. The Canadian former WBC title holder is awaiting further instructions from President Mauricio Sulaiman.
Having already lost to Wilder in an unconvincing performance, Stiverne would have much to prove in a rematch before either attempting to meet the likes of Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko, or Joseph Parker.