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The forgotten champion: Bermane Stiverne

(Photo © Mary Ann Owens)
(Photo © Mary Ann Owens)

By John J. Raspanti


Bermane Stiverne has lost one fight in nine years.

 

That bout, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, NV last year was for the heavyweight championship of the world. Stiverne captured the crown in 2014 by knocking out Chris Areola.


After the match was stopped, and Stiverne declared the winner, he dropped to the canvas and stayed there, overcome by emotion.


Stiverne turned professional at 26. He won his first 12 fights by knockout, until running out of gas and stopped by Demetrice King.

 

Unfazed by the loss, Stiverne reeled off 12 consecutive victories before his showdown with Deontay Wilder in 2015.


The undefeated Wilder pounded a listless Stiverne for 12 rounds, winning the fight by a wide unanimous decision.


The bout was a strange one. I was ringside covering the bout for www.maxboxing.com, and wondered why defending champion Stiverne wasn’t letting his hands go.

 

 

After the fight, Stiverne, was taken to the University Medical Center where doctors determined that the Haitian native was severely dehydrated. He was admitted to the hospital and discharged three days later.

Stiverne made no excuses. All he wanted was another chance against Wilder.


Eighteen months after losing the championship, Stiverne, 37, is still waiting.


Wilder will be fighting Stiverne’s old dance partner, Areola, July 16. Stiverne was hopeful he might get the call to fight his nemesis again, but the phone never rang. His only tussle since losing to Wilder was a 10 decision over Derric Rossy.


In the long history of heavyweight title fights, the deposed champion is usually granted a rematch. In a few months, former champion Valadmir Klitstko will get a chance to avenge his loss to Tyson Fury.


What about Stiverne? Does he feel disrespected?


“A little,” admitted Stiverne to this writer via email. “It’s a little bit of politics too, but I feel like if I keep working hard, and keep on getting the wins, it (the fight) will happen. I’m ranked number two. I will be champion again.” 


Stiverne admits that his main goal is to get Wilder back in the ring.


“He wasn’t able to put me out on my worst day,” said Stiverne. “If I had a record like him where he’s knocked out all of his opponents, I would want to face the only man I was not able to knock out as a champion. I am his worst nightmare and he knows it.

 

"Even though I had serious issues with my health I took everything he had, and he never seen anybody like me before," he wrote.

“His (Wilder’s) fight in May got canceled against the number one contender. Last time I checked, number two comes right after one. I dare him to fight me if he’s the real champ.” 


Stiverne was scheduled to fight this month, but an injury forced a postponement.


A rematch with Wilder is never far from his mind. 


“I’m a patient man. One way or another, I will face him again in the near future,” said Stiverne. “He likes to pick his opponents. Let’s see what he does.”



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