By James Blears
New WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne says he's determined to remain, and to retain his crown for a long spell, but make no mistake he'll achieve it via perception, hard slog and intelligently applied boxing skills.
At the ceremony in Mexico City's Camino Real Hotel, in which World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman presented him with the new generation WBC green and gold belt, Bermane stressed:
"I got here by looking at other peoples' mistakes and I'll continue doing that. I'll continue the same work...if not twice or ten times the amount in the gym. Obviously the easiest part was to get the title and the hardest part is to keep it.
"I want to defend as much as I can and as much as my body allows. I can't predict the future, but my goal is to defend the title as much as I can. I'll fight before the end of this year and next year if I can do three defenses, then let's do it."
No next opponent has yet been officially named but number one contender Deontay Wilder is pledging to cut Bermane's reign drastically short with a KO.
Bermane who says he'll fight anyone who's chosen to face him, is unfazed, unimpressed and unruffled. He suggested:
"Where I'm from, talk is cheap and where I'm from, they always taught me since I was young, don't open my mouth unless I'm sure I'm going to do something. And I talk in the ring. His prediction is his opinion, but it only matters when the bell rings. That's a different story. His first real fight will be me and he'll actually have someone who punches him back."
Bermane also confided about the struggle and the determination it's taken to get this far, which has formed him as a fighter, but also as a person. He explained:
"I've been through a lot. I had a lot of good reasons to give up years ago, to turn the page and find something else to do, but I decided to keep going and keep my eyes on the prize."
Tags: Bermane Stiverne , Deontay Wilder , Wilder-Stiverne , Wilder vs. Stiverne