World Boxing News looks at who could take over from Deontay Wilder as the best United States heavyweight out there.
Wilder became the first American world heavyweight champion for a decade when the Tuscaloosa puncher bludgeoned his way to the WBC title in 2015.
‘The Bronze Bomber,’ making his name from an Olympic medal run at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, garnered little attention early in his career.
Facing inexperienced fighters and campaigners with a losing record, it wasn’t until Wilder reached 23-0 in 2012 that boxing began to take notice.
By the time the hapless Kertson Manswell was downed in the first round. Wilder had 15 knockouts from 24 victories, all of which had come within four rounds.
It’s safe to say he was making a name for himself. Stepping up his opposition soon after, that’s when Wilder’s career took off.
The following two opponents had perfect records. That was before the likes of Audley Harrison and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Both were bonafide names in the also-ran stakes. Needless to say, they both tumbled in the opener.
World heavyweight champion
A world title contender was emerging. Three wins later, Wilder realized his dream by defeating Bermane Stiverne – the first man to take him the distance.
Due to his desire to claim the green and gold belt, Wilder played it safe and chose to ease his way to the strap.
It wasn’t until almost three years later that Wilder proved what he could do to the Haitian Canadian. Needless to say, it was another devastating first-round win.
Wilder was precisely what the US public needed at the right time. It was ten years since Mike Tyson retired, and the glory days of stateside heavyweights were long gone.
Ferocious punching goes with the territory of the American public. Wilder had that in abundance.
Fast forward to 2022, and Wilder is bereft of a title. He suffered back-to-back defeats to Tyson Fury before making a successful comeback.
He’s now one win away from another shot at the top-division crown. By his own admission, Wilder only has three years left in the sport.
The next big United States heavyweight
So who can take his mantle as the best American heavyweight on the planet?
Michael Hunter and Stephen Shaw are too old to consider, as they will be 37 and 33, respectively, when Wilder walks away in 2025.
Likewise, Jermain Franklin. He is 29 despite being 21-0. Cassius Chaney can also be ruled out.
Darmani Rock was in the frame until defeated by Michael Coffie. This leaves Sonny Conto [11-0] and Richard Torrez Jr. [4-0] as two of the obvious choices.
Both have time on their side, but not as much as Jared Anderson. The ‘Big Baby’ has looked devastating in moving to 12-0.
Anderson is the future if you ask any of the top commentators stateside. He should be fighting for a world title when Wilder steps away.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum is in no rush with the big-punching youngster and is an ideal judge to keep Anderson on the right path.
At present, Anderson stands out among the 364 active US punchers plying their trade at 200 pounds plus.
Who will eventually bring back the belt? – Nobody knows. But it could be another long wait unless Deontay Wilder can win the WBC strap back in 2023.
Pitting Wilder against Anderson at the tail end of his career could be a masterstroke move before the sun finally sets on his tenure.