Wilder to fight Arreola in July

Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Chris Arreola in Birmingham, Alabama on July 16.

Unbeaten Wilder will make the fourth defence of his belt six months to the day since he stopped Artur Szpilka in new York.

A planned fight with Alexander Povetkin was called off when the Russian failed a drug test, and Wilder will instead face Arreola, who receives his third shot at a world title following defeats to Bermane Stiverne and Vitali Klitschko.

Wilder has twice before defended his title in his home state, and he said: “I’m always excited about coming home and being in front of my people where I’m the most comfortable.

“I’ve been traveling a lot, going over to Sheffield, England to train before I was supposed to fight Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. But because of his decision to use a banned substance, the fight didn’t happen.

“I’m disappointed about that, but it’s not going to stop me from being an active heavyweight world champion. It has also given me the opportunity to again defend my title before my hometown fans. It’s always good to come home.

“This is the longest stretch that I’ve been out of the ring and I’m anxious to get back in and continue my quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. This is another fight in that process.

“I respect Chris Arreola for getting into the ring with me, but we all know who the real champion is and I’m going to prove it.”

Fellow American Arreola (36-4-1) said: “I’m thankful to Deontay for this opportunity. He has proven a great deal by winning the heavyweight title and by defending it three times.

“I’m very excited to step into the ring with him, put on a great show and be victorious.”