By Keith Idec
Eric Molina wobbled Deontay Wilder with a left hook in the third round of their WBC heavyweight title fight June 13.
Wilder recovered and dropped Molina (23-3, 17 KOs) four times on his way to a ninth-round knockout, but Molina’s moment of success isn’t lost on Johann Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KOs), who’ll challenge Wilder (34-0, 33 KOs) on Saturday night in at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. ( Premier Boxing Champions on NBC; 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).
“We’ve got a great strategy in place,” Duhaupas said. “He’s a wonderful adversary, but like us all, he has weaknesses that I can expose.”
The 6-foot-7 Wilder is one of the few taller opponents the 6-5 French contender has faced, but the huge underdog is certain he can overcome that disadvantage in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds.
“Height is always an issue when facing a taller guy, but it will be up to me to take care of that,” Duhaupas said. “I’ve fought several guys taller than me and I’ll be ready. I’m confident in myself and I’ll be equally confident in the ring. I’m ready to deliver the knockout.”
The 34-year-old Duhaupas has not been knocked out during his 11-year pro career, but has suffered unanimous-decision defeats in 12-rounders against Germany’s Erkan Teper (15-0, 10 KOs) and Italy’s Francesco Pianeta (31-2-1, 17 KOs). Former WBC champ Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs) is the only opponent the 29-year-old Wilder hasn’t knocked out since he turned pro in November 2008.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.