Former heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne plans to resume training and fight again by May after a two-night hospitalization following his world-title loss to Deontay Wilder on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Stiverne suffered from severe dehydration and was diagnosed, his promoter Don King said, with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that left him weakened and lethargic in the bout.
“That’s why he couldn’t pull the trigger,” King said. “I knew something was wrong. This is a burden you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. He was handicapped. The trauma could’ve been life-threatening, the doctor told me, it happens to many athletes. Their muscles can’t perform.”
The unbeaten Wilder threw 621 punches to Stiverne’s 327 and won every round on one judge’s scorecard to secure the World Boxing Council title by unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It was the first time Wilder had fought 12 rounds.
King was quick to note of his fighter’s condition, “that’s not an excuse. I thought Deontay Wilder did a hell of a job, just wonderful. You have to admire and respect him. He fulfilled the prophecy, so to speak.”
Stiverne’s trainer, Don House, said as long as the dehydration symptoms subside, the plan is for the former champion to get back to training next month.
King also said he’s relying on “the word” of Wilder's manager, Al Haymon, that Stiverne will receive a “return match” against Wilder down the road.
“Al Haymon’s word is good enough for me. Wilder should go on and fight whoever he wants to fight next – Tyson Fury, whoever – while my guy gets a clean bill of health,” King said. “[Stiverne] wants to apologize to his fans, to let them know it hurt him more than anything else that he couldn’t perform.
“I want to see him fight someone else and know he’s absolutely ready. He wants his fans to know it’ll be a different story next time.”