WBC champ Wilder returns against unbeaten Washington

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Deontay Wilder is trying to emulate Larry Holmes, both in becoming the world's dominant heavyweight champion and in cultivating a pinpoint left jab while sidelined by a right hand injury.

Returning from a pair of injuries to his right arm and flush from a court victory, the WBC heavyweight champion returns to the ring Saturday night against unbeaten and mostly unknown Gerald Washington (18-0-1, 12 knockouts) at Legacy Arena. He's hoping it's the start of a year when he begins adding belts to the one he's dubbed "Sophie."

Washington is a 34-year-old former Southern California tight end and defensive end. He is also a former Navy helicopter mechanic who turned pro less than five years ago.

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