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Wilder stops Duhaupas in 11th to defend heavyweight title

Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder, right, punches Johann

Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder, right, punches Johann Duhaupas, of France, during a WBC heavyweight title boxing match, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. Wilder won against Duhaupas with a TKO in the eleventh round. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) Credit: AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Deontay Wilder used a flurry of head shots to finally subdue Johann Duhaupas, stopping him 55 seconds into the 11th round to successfully defend his WBC heavyweight title Saturday night.

Duhaupas suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose in the first round, and after that Wilder (35-0) worked almost exclusively on the Frenchman's face and head.

Despite being punched repeatedly, Duhaupas (32-3) rarely seemed fazed. He nearly fell in the fifth round, but other than that appeared to brush off the onslaught.

It wasn't until Wilder unleashed nine consecutive head shots early in the 11th round that the referee stopped the fight.

"He was very strong. He's definitely got a nice chin," Wilder said. "I see why he's never been (knocked out) before."

Wilder did not emerge unscathed, overcoming an early cut that resulted in noticeable swelling under his left eye beginning in the fourth round.

He landed 326 punches in the fight, compared to only 98 by Duhaupas. Wilder connected on 69 percent of his power punches (183 of 267).

Wilder did not emerge unscathed, overcoming an early cut that resulted in noticeable swelling under his left eye beginning in the fourth round.

"When you're fighting for a world title, it brings a different beast, a different animal out of fighters, and they bring their all," Wilder said. "You have to give him the credit. He did an excellent job, and he definitely has my respect."

Wilder won every round on each judge's scorecard except for the fourth, which two judges gave to Duhaupas. That was the only round when Wilder appeared to be on the defensive.

Wilder responded by coming out aggressively in the fifth, landing a swooping right hand to the side of Duhaupas' head. Wilder then trapped Duhaupas against the ropes and appeared close to delivering a knockout blow.

But Duhaupas weathered that storm and held his own until the 10th, when another flurry of punches from Wilder had Duhaupas wobbling, setting up the decisive 11th.

"We knew he was mentally tough," said Wilder, who received some pre-fight criticism for choosing to defend his title against the relatively unknown Duhaupas. "The scariest people are the ones you don't know of. They are the most dangerous ones."

This was the second time in less than four months that Wilder has fought in his home state of Alabama. The Tuscaloosa native defeated Eric Molina in June with a ninth-round knockout.

"This is what it's all about, bringing the title to Alabama and bringing these warriors here to fight," Wilder said.

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