Deontay Wilder proved his surgically repaired right hand is still a devastating force – once he unleashed it. Wilder returned from right arm injuries to stop Gerald Washington in the fifth round and retain his WBC heavyweight title on Saturday night in a fight that heated up quickly after a quiet start.
SUCKER PUNCH…Wilder connects to Washington’s face with his left as he closes in on victory during the fifth round of the contest.
Wilder, whose record improves to 38-0 with 37 knockouts, seemed mostly cautious with his right in the early rounds but staggered Washington (18-1-1) and sent him down with a hard one followed by a left in the fifth at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. He came right back at the former USC football player and Navy mechanic, pummelling him against the ropes with both hands.
‘I knew he was going to come in excited to fight for a world title,’ Wilder said. ‘I just kept calm and found my rhythm. I knew he was going to tire out, and when he did I took advantage.’
Referee Mike Griffin stopped the fight at 1:45 of the fifth after Wilder punctuated his barrage with a left uppercut. An unsteady Washington wobbled against the ropes on the opposite side after the stoppage.