Stiverne Stops Arreola, Captures Heavyweight Title

By Mike Sloan May 11, 2014
For someone who took up boxing at an advanced age, Bermane Stiverne certainly took to the sport quickly.

After struggling early in his life and having his football dreams derailed from a nasty knee injury, Stiverne eventually realized that the Sweet Science was his true calling. On Saturday night, he captured the sport’s most coveted prize.

The crowd inside the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles got their money’s worth as Stiverne and Chris Arreola tore into each other for much of their ESPN-televised contest -- while it lasted. Their ballyhooed rematch came on the heels of their electrifying first encounter a year ago, but Stiverne, who toppled Arreola via decision the first time, vowed to take out the Mexican-American this time around. “B-Ware” promised to be the first man to ever knock Arreola out and he delivered the goods.

Stiverne took his time with his punches but whenever he let his fists fly, he made them count. He was deadly accurate and by the end of the third, Arreola’s face already a bloody, swollen mess.

“We wanted to be patient in the ring, make him work and get comfortable,” a jubilant, emotional Stiverne said afterward. “Once he got comfortable, that’s when I cracked him. Get him too comfortable and hit him. That’s what I did.”

Arreola was rocked a few times in the war, but it wasn’t until the sixth round when Stiverne’s crushing power ended everything. A sweeping right hand buckled Arreola’s knees and moments later he was stumbling to the ground. When Arreola climbed back to his feet at the count of nine, he was in a considerable amount of peril. Stiverne patiently stalked his wounded prey but wasted little time in firing menacing punches from all angles until “The Nightmare” was felled again.

Like the first time he was taken off his feet, Arreola (36-4, 31 KOs) struggled up late in referee Jack Reiss’ count. On shaky legs, Arreola tried in vein to power his way back into the brawl, but it was already too late: the Haitian-born bomber was soon shredding his porous defense again, prompting Reiss to finally call it off officially at the 2:02 of the sixth.

“I knew [once I hurt him] that it was a wrap,” Stiverne stated. “I trained too hard for this and I knew once he went down, it was over.”

Stiverne, now 24-1-1 with 21 KOs, became the first ever Haitian-born fighter to capture the world heavyweight title. Stiverne seized the vacant WBC version of the belt, which was vacated by Vitali Klitschko. However, unbeaten contender Deontay Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) was in attendance and is Stiverne’s first mandatory challenger.


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