Wilder, Szpilka send message to heavyweight rivals

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NEW YORK – Unbeaten world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and his next challenger, Poland’s Artur Szpilka, took aim Wednesday at rival champion Tyson Fury in announcing their January 16 matchup in New York.

Wilder, a 30-year-old American, will make his third defense of the World Boxing Council crown at Barclays Center against Szpilka, who is in his first world title bout.

”I’m knocking out Szpilka and I’m sending a message to everyone who stands in my way,” said Wilder, who has set his sights on an undisputed throne. ”I’m looking for a grand show. It’s going to be a great performance to kick off 2016. This is going to be a huge year for me.”

Wilder, 35-0 with 34 knockouts, would be looking at Fury, who improved to 25-0 with 18 knockouts by dethroning Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko last month in Dusseldorf.

Klitschko and Fury will meet in a World Boxing Association title rematch next year but after that, Wilder wants a chance at the winner.

”Once I knock Szpilka out, I want all the Polish fans to come on the ‘Bronze Bomber’ train as I bring the heavyweight division back to the top,” Wilder said.

”I’m the guy who has everything it takes to be heavyweight champion of the world. It’s not just about being great inside the ring, it’s about being able to do great things outside of the ring. Not everyone has that. I love to be out there with the people.”

Another possible foe for Wilder if he gets past Szpilka is the winner of the fight for the vacant International Boxing Federation crown, taken from Fury for not fighting Ukranian mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov, who is expected to fight for the IBF crown against Uzbek Ruslan Ghagaev.

With all the confusion, Szpilka figures the time is right for him to make his move.

”I wanted this fight. This is my time,” he said. ”The heavyweight titles are wide open. There’s new blood for boxing.” (AFP)

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