Deontay Wilder produced a furious first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale at the Barclays Centre, dispatching his opponent with a powerful right hand to leave fans clamouring for a unification clash with Anthony Joshua.
The build-up to the fight was marred by controversy, with Wilder stating that “this is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time, so why not use my right to do so?” His comments were widely condemned by the boxing community, but Wilder was not to be punished for his reckless insensitivity as he stepped into the ring with Breazeale.
At first, it seemed as if Wilder might be frustrated in his efforts to add to his collection of first-round KO’s. The challenger did attempt to establish himself in the fight, going toe to toe with Wilder and delivering some sharp shots after withstanding a wild flurry from his opponent.
However, any early promise dissipated upon the landing of Wilder’s destructive right hand, with the champion sending Breazeale to the canvas with a crushing shot. Breazeale couldn’t make it back to his feet before the count, with Wilder claiming his 41st professional victory and retaining his WBC heavyweight belt.
As it stands, the only blemish on Wilder’s boxing record is his draw to Tyson Fury last December. If Anthony Joshua can navigate what appears to be a relatively routine bout against Andy Ruiz Jr in June, then a much-anticipated encounter between Joshua and Wilder must surely be on the cards. Although the two have repeatedly expressed their desire to meet in the ring, there seems to be some reluctance behind the scenes from both parties, much to the infuriation of the countless boxing fans who are itching to see these two fighters trade blows with their belts on the line.
Should this impasse continue, the door might open for a rematch between Wilder and the only man he failed to beat, with Fury being typically vocal following the Bronze Bomber’s victory. The Gypsy King challenged the man he entitled a “big dosser” to a bare-knuckle fight in New York City, and if Joshua cannot or will not do battle with the American, then Tyson would surely be willing to take his place.
Wilder laid down a comprehensive marker to his heavyweight rivals by crushing an opponent that Joshua comparatively laboured against, leading fans to speculate who might triumph in a hypothetical Wilder vs Joshua bout. Whether Wilder and Joshua finally engineer a unification fight or Fury gets his chance at a rematch, there ought to be some colossal heavyweight fights on the horizon. Wilder vs Breazeale was something of a mismatch and it appears that Joshua vs Ruiz Jr may follow this pattern, and if these fighters want to lay a conclusive claim to the title of the greatest active heavyweight boxer, then their paths will need to cross sooner rather than later.