As the boxing world eagerly awaits for the Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko clash in Wembley next spring, America's top heavyweight, WBC champion Deontay Wilder, is now getting ready to defend his title.
Wilder is recovering from hand and biceps surgery, but according to the Tuscaloosa Times, Wilder is set to defend his belt against Andrzej Wawrzyk in Birmingham, Alabama on February 25.
Wilder was supposed to take on the winner of the Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne fight for a vacant interim WBC heavyweight title on December 17, but Povetkin failed a drug and in a ruling, the governing body said it could not sanction the fight for a world title with Povetkin's latest transgression. The WBC did not cancel the fight, however, and could have moved forward with Povetkin vs. Stiverne in a non-title fight, but Stiverne said he was disappointed with Povetkin's drug test and chose not to have the fight altogether.
Povetkin instead fought Johann Duhaupas on one day's notice. He was already in Russia and stepped up to face Povetkin and Povetkin knocked out Duhaupas in the sixth round of the fight.
Wawrzyk is 33-1 with his lone loss coming from Povetkin. Wawrzyk has won its last six fights, all by knockout, but he is only ranked No. 12 in the WBC's latest rankings and No. 15 in the WBO's rankings. It is a voluntary title defense by Wilder as the WBC continues to resolve its situation of finding a top mandatory challenger for the title.
Wilder has not fought since beating Chris Arreola last July to retain his belt. Wilder suffered a torn biceps and broken hand throughout the fight.