Undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is ready to drop a payload of fists on his latest target, and this time, he’s going international.
Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs) will make his second title defense and his Premier Boxing Champions debut when he takes on France’s Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs) on September 26 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The fight marks the return of world championship heavyweight boxing to NBC (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT) for the first time since May 1985, when Larry Holmes defended his title against Carl Williams in Reno, Nevada.
Wilder's clash with Duhaupas will be the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native's second fight in his home state this year after gaining a ninth-round knockout of Eric Molina in June, also in Birmingham.
“Fighting at home last time exceeded my expectations and coming back again is a blessing upon my life,” Wilder said. “I’m looking forward to bringing boxing back to Alabama and introducing the entire state to this great sport.”
In Duhaupas, Wilder faces a towering opponent who measures in at a skyscraping 6 feet 5 inches.
“I know my opponent has great size and that’s what we’re looking for. He has a great record and he’s never been knocked out—until he faces me,” the 6-foot-7 Wilder said. “Every guy we’re fighting, we’re making sure he’s tall because we’re looking forward to fighting Wladimir Klitschko. I know Duhaupas is tough and he comes to fight, and that’s exactly what we need.”
Duhaupas, who will be making his U.S. debut, vows to come into the fight in beast mode.
“I am very happy to be challenging Deontay Wilder for the heavyweight world title,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity and I will make the most of it. Deontay is a good boxer, but I have the heart of a lion and the mental fortitude to handle anything in the ring.”
This will be Figueroa’s second fight at that weight after his slugfest victory over Ricky Burns in May.