By John J. Raspanti
Deontay Wilder successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title for the fifth time Saturday night by stopping Gerald Washington in round five at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The opening stanza was all about the jab. Both men touched each other, but it appeared that Washington did a little more.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) did better in round two utilizing his anaconda like jab. He also tagged Washington with a right.
Washington, a Navy veteran, who played football for USC and earned employment on a couple of NFL practice squads, looked to counter. An inch shorter than Wilder at 6-foot-6, Washington went to the body with authority.
Wilder looked tentative, and needed to let his hands go. The defending champion did dig a good hook to the body, and popped a double jab.
Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) went back to jabbing in round five.
Likely behind on the scorecards, Wilder, 31, was slowly beginning to find his rhythm.
As Washington, 34, languished on the ropes, Wilder uncorked a wicked right hand, followed by a cuffing left hook that deposited Washington on the seat of his pants.
The right hand landed on the temple—separating Washington from his senses. After beating the count, Washington staggered, prompting the referee to the stop the contest.
The time was 1:45 of the fifth round
“I’m ready for Joseph Parker,” said Wilder in the ring. ”I did my part. Now it’s time for you to do yours.”
Parker is scheduled to meet Hughie Fury, cousin of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, possibly in April.