Undefeated Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder Ready for Next Defense
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend the title against Dominic Breazeale this weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Updated: May 15, 2019 • 11:06 PM ET
Deontay Wilder is looking to keep his unblemished record.
The WBC heavyweight title will be on the line this Saturday, as reigning champion Deontay Wilder will defend the belt against Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The co-main event will also be for a title, as WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend the belt against veteran Kiko Martinez.
Coming off a split-decision draw against Tyson Fury in December, Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) will defend the WBC belt for the ninth time this weekend. Many fans and critics believe Wilder won the fight against Fury after nearly finishing him in the 12th round, but Fury’s ability to survive and stay active in the final minutes forced the fight to a draw.
Despite the draw with Fury, Wilder is still looking for a unification bout with IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua. He believes a victory over Breazeale will get him closer to that fight.
"Believe me, this fight is going to happen," Wilder recently told Sky Sports. "There will come a day, a day real soon, when there can only be one. The heavyweight division belongs to me and I've known that for a very long time now, but I'm not satisfied with what I've achieved so far.
"I want every single belt, I want to be the undisputed champion, and I want the day to come when there can only be one king and that man will be Deontay Wilder."
Although Wilder has key victories over Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne (twice), Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola and Artur Szpilka, many in the boxing community would like to see the 33-year-old against Joshua at some point in the future.
"It's the fight that sets me apart from everybody else,” Wilder said. “I’ve fought and hurt every single person that's been in the ring with me and still they still want questions answered. Bermane Stiverne, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, and Tyson Fury. I've proven time and time again that I will fight any heavyweight, but when it's as big as me and Joshua then it has to be right.
"Fury don't want to fight me no more. He doesn't want to feel my power no more. I'm learning this business as I go on and I know what me and Joshua means to the sport of boxing. The fight will happen one day, and you'll see that I was right all along when they give me my roses and I get to smell them."
Breazeale has won three straight fights since losing to Joshua by TKO for the IBF title in 2016. He believes he’ll be the more skilled fighter on Saturday and has what it takes to become a champion.
“I don’t see any fundamental skills [in Wilder],” Breazeale said during a recent conference call. “I don’t see any successes on his part. He’s been champion for about four years. He hasn’t grown. He hasn’t changed. Yes, he’s got a big right-hand, but don’t we all in the heavyweight division? We all have knockout power.
“So I think I’m walking into a fight where I’m the more skilled, more athletic and bigger, stronger guy.”
The 33-year-old Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) most recently defeated Carlos Negron by ninth-round knockout in December. A victory over Wilder would throw a giant wrench into the heavyweight division and drastically change the title picture for the rest of 2019.
“I’m always looking for a huge knockout, something to impress the fans and impress the boxing community,” Breazeale said. “At the same time, I’m never looking for it. I’m never trying to surge and try too hard to get the knockout, I always let it come.
“But this one, it’s going to be a lot better success. It’s going to be a lot better sleeping May 18 the night after I win the title if I get a knockout. Don’t get me wrong, a win’s a win; but at the same time, I want to impress the world. I want to impress the boxing community with a big knockout. When I say big knockout, one where my right hand and my left hand makes contact and he goes out, doesn’t get back up.”
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Saturday’s co-main event will be for the WBC featherweight title, as champion Gary Russell Jr. will defend the belt for the fourth time against veteran Kiko Martinez.
Russell has won five straight fights since losing to Vasiliy Lomachenko by majority decision for the WBO featherweight title in 2014. He claimed the WBC belt with a win over Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015 and most recently defended against Joseph Diaz last May.
Russell is confident heading into Saturday.
“Who do you see in the sport of boxing saying, ‘Oh, I wanna fight Gary Russell Jr?’,” Russell said in a recent interview with Premier Boxing Champions. “You don’t hear that from none of the other champions. They’re talking about fighting each other and everybody else. Now, why is that?
“They call me ‘The Boogeyman’ of my division. I’m one of the most dangerous guys in the sport. Nobody wants to see me. If they do, my name is only whispered here and there. You don’t see nobody calling me out. They don’t wanna fight me, and I’m getting to the point where I’m getting tired of it.”
Russell, a 30-year-old Washington, D.C. native, could look for a unification bout against WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz if he secures the win over Martinez on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Marc Vidal in October. He’s 3-0-1 in his last four fights with his last loss coming to Josh Warrington by majority decision in 2017. Martinez is also a former IBF super bantamweight champion.
• Also on the card via Showtime: Juan Heraldez (16-0) vs. Argenis Mendez (25-5-2)
• The main card can be seen at 9 p.m. this Saturday on Showtime