Wilder defends WBC heavyweight title vs Breazeale on May 18
NEW YORK (AP) — Not to be outdone by the other heavyweight titleholder, Deontay Wilder showed he can be a champion at trash talk, too.
A month after Anthony Joshua and Jarrell Miller squared off in a nasty, expletive-infused war of words to announce their fight — Joshua owns the major belts other than the WBC, which is Wilder’s — the man known as the “Bronze Bomber” and Dominic Breazeale went at it Tuesday at Barclays Center. Fans can only hope the May 18 fight as action packed.
“It’s always great to get a mandatory out of the way. They’re like flies buzzing in my ear. I just want to get them out of the way so I can do great things for the heavyweight division,” said Wilder, who wasn’t so great in his last fight, when he drew with Tyson Fury, the first time he didn’t win in 40 career bouts. “I want one champion, one face, one name, but you need a lot of cooperation to make that happen.”
Wilder, who has 39 knockouts, was referring to getting Joshua into the ring to unite the titles. But Wilder has remained tied to Showtime and spurned the opportunity to join streaming service DAZN, which now has Joshua. So any unification fight is pretty far off.
Indeed, should Wilder pull off what he claims will be a “massacre” of Breazeale, another meeting with Fury eventually could happen. But Fury is affiliated now with ESPN through his promoter, Top Rank.
Regardless, Wilder has worked up quite the animosity toward Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs), whose only loss is to Joshua. And the feeling is mutual.
“I’m sick of seeing this bum walking around with his belt,” Breazeale said. “He’s a chump in the ring. … I’m going to put him down.”
Their acrimony stems in part from a hotel incident after each fought on the same card two years ago. Details are sketchy and lots of allegations flew Tuesday.
Regardless, Wilder-Breazeale will be the second heavyweight title fight in New York in two weeks; Joshua-Miller follows on June 1. Perhaps most noteworthy is that, unlike Joshua’s defense that will be streamed, Wilder chose to stick with cable TV and Showtime, praising the channel’s loyalty to him.
DAZN has made rapid inroads in boxing, notably through its deals with Joshua and Canelo Alvarez, probably the sport’s most popular fighter. HBO has dropped out of boxing.
“It was critical for Deontay, for the sport and his fans, that this fight be available not on pay-per-view, but on Showtime,” said Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s president of sports and event programming. Showtime has a streaming service for cord-cutters that broadcasts boxing. “Because of his insistence, that’s the primary reason we’re standing here today.”
Wilder plans to land many solid punches, particularly his vaunted right hand, against Breazeale.
“Every man I’ve faced, they’ve landed on the canvas,” Wilder said. “I’m going to continue to do that on May 18.”