Deontay Wilder emerges victorious after first-round KO of Sergei Liakhovich...

Deontay Wilder emerges victorious after first-round KO of Sergei Liakhovich on Friday, August 9 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, in Indio Ca. Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

Deontay Wilder could be on his way to big things.

The 6-7 brusing heavyweight from Alabama improved his record to 29-0 with a first-round knockout of former world champion Sergei Liakhovich at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, in Indio, Calif., on Friday night.

Wilder, a 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist, thinks he’s ready to move on to the next level.

"I know I'm blessed with God-given power,'' he said after Friday’s win. "After our team prayer, I always pray that I don't hurt the guy I'm fighting, that if he has a family he will be OK enough afterward to continue to provide for them.''

Is he confident? Definitely. Is he cocky? Certainly. But when you accumulate 29 knockouts in 29 fights, you are doing something right.

But whether that translates into a shot at one of the four main belts (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO) is another matter. Everyone wants a shot at Wladimir (WBA, WBO, IBF champ) and Vitale Klitschko (WBC champ), but neither fighter is inclined to give up a belt to compete against an opponent who isn’t the mandatory challenger.

Wilder was ranked No. 6 in the WBA and WBO, No. 15 in the IBF and No. 30 in the WBC, entering Friday’s fight. He’ll certainly move up, but not enough to warrant a match with either of the Klitschko brothers.

Until he gets that chance, he’ll have to bide his time and not get caught sleeping.

"I think all my KOs are helping me get a lot of people's attention and I love that. I embrace it,” said Wilder. “I think more people are now starting to feel that maybe I can be the guy who brings the heavyweight title back to America. Honestly, I would love to be that guy.''

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