Riverside’s Chris Arreola looks likely to face Deontay Wilder in heavyweight title bout

Chris Arreola works out in Van Nuys in 2009.
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Maybe the third time will be a charm.

Riverside’s Chris Arreola has emerged as the front-runner to fight unbeaten world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a summer bout.

Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) has twice previously lost in his heavyweight title shots, to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and Bermane Stiverne in 2014.

Both of those losses happened in Southern California. It’s uncertain now where Wilder, who beat Stiverne for his heavyweight belt in 2015, will fight Arreola.


The World Boxing Council ruled Wednesday that Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) is free to pursue an immediate heavyweight title defense as the WBC works to resolve a positive drug test given by Wilder’s previously scheduled opponent Alexander Povetkin of Russia.

Povetkin has tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium and the WBC ruled that his May 21 title shot at Wilder in Moscow needed to be postponed.

In its Wednesday statement, the WBC said Wilder should move swiftly to arrange another fight if he chose to do so.

Two officials close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly about the talk said Arreola is Wilder’s choice.

Given that most fighters need seven to eight weeks to effectively prepare for a bout, a likely time frame for Wilder-Arreola would be mid-July.