WBC champ Wilder takes on Duhaupus with Klitschko on horizon

WBC champ Wilder takes on Duhaupus with Klitschko on horizon

Deontay Wilder defends his slice of the heavyweight world title against Johann Duhaupus on Saturday looking for another convincing win to keep him headed toward a unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko.

The clash in Birmingham, Alabama, pits knockout artist Wilder, 34-0 with 33 wins inside the distance, against a French challenger who has never been stopped, the two defeats on his record coming by decision.

It`s impressive enough on paper, and Wilder says critics who say the 32-2 Frenchman -- coming off a majority decision over Manuel Charr -- will be a pushover are off target.

Wilder insists Duhaupus is "a tough opponent -- a guy who`s never been knocked out before, a guy coming off the best win of his career, a guy trying to become the first Frenchman to win the belt."

In preparing for the bout, Wilder acknowledged that becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion is his ultimate goal.

That will likely involve an eventual clash with Ukraine`s Klitschko, who defends his World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation belts against Britain`s Tyson Fury on October 24 in Dusseldorf.

In the meantime, Wilder said, he`d be "a fool" to look past Duhaupus.

"Any man that steps in the ring, definitely gets my full attention and respect," added Wilder, who will be making his second defense of the title he won in January with a dominating decision over Bermane Stiverne that made Wilder the first American to hold a major heavyweight belt since 2006.

On June 13 he dropped Eric Molina three times en route to a ninth-round knockout before an enthralled crowd of home fans in Birmingham.

In addition to bringing big-time heavyweight boxing back to Alabama fans, Wilder and manager Al Haymon are bringing it back to US network television.

NBC will air the bout, part of Haymon`s Premier Boxing Champions series, marking the first time a heavyweight title fight has been broadcast by a major US network since the 1985 fight between Larry Holmes and Carl "The Truth" Williams.

Wilder is looking forward to a chance to build his brand with a more general audience than might have seen the fight on cable or pay-per-view.

"I`m always looking to have my face on new networks and NBC is where a lot of the greats that came before me started," he said. "I can`t wait for Saturday night." 

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