New York - Unbeaten Deontay Wilder kept his share of the world heavyweight crown Saturday with his 35th knockout in 36 fights, then traded verbal sparring with unbeaten British rival champion Tyson Fury in the ring.
A sledgehammer right hand to the chin left Polish opponent Artur Szpilka unconscious and flat on his back at 2:24 of the ninth round at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the southpaw taken off on a stretcher to a hospital as a precaution.
That enabled Wilder to keep his World Boxing Council title and set the stage for a potential shot at an undisputed title later this year against Fury, who beat Wladimir Klitschko for the World Boxing Association crown and climbed into the ring to taunt Wilder moments after the fight ended.
"There's only one Tyson Fury," the Briton yelled as they moved into a staredown. "What've you got to say about that Deontay?"
"You're just a phony," Wilder replied. "This is just an act. You know where I am. You know what time, what place. I ain't scared of nobody, I'll come to your backyard, baby."
Fury, 25-0 with 18 knockouts, made the same offer, adding: "Any time, any place, anywhere. I'll beat you. You're a bum," as the crowd booed.
Wilder laughed at the somewhat cartoonish situation, saying, "I don't play this. You should have been an actor. When we do step in the ring, this ain't wrestling, this ain't the WWE, baby. When you do step in this ring with me -- if you do because this should've been done a long time ago -- you can run around like you're a preacher all that you want but when you step into that ring I promise you I will baptize you.
"Make the date Tyson. Make the date."
Szpilka, who fell to 20-2, appeared to be fine after the fight, trainer Ronnie Shields said.
"He's doing good, he's awake. He knows exactly where he is right now," Shields said. "It's the best thing for him to go get checked out. He was conscious. He was talking. Better safe than sorry."
Wilder, 30, hopes to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Britain's Lennox Lewis in 2000 and the first US heavyweight in the role since Riddick Bowe in 1992.
That will likely mean waiting, while Fury fights a rematch with Klitschko, and trying to win the International Boxing Federation title that went to unbeaten US southpaw Charles Martin on the same card.
Martin won the vacant crown when Ukraine's Vyacheslav Glazkov stopped 1:50 into the third round with a right knee injury. Martin won his 17th fight in a row, improving to 23-0 with 21 wins inside the distance. Glazkov fell to 21-1.
"I'm sorry for him that he couldn't finish the fight," Martin said. "It's unfortunate."
Fury had vacated the IBF crown after beating Klitschko rather than fight mandatory challenger Glazkov, setting up a possible unification showdown for the US rival champions and a possible late-2016 undisputed showdown against the Fury-Klitschko winner.