By Mark Elezaj
NEW YORK- Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) made it look easy Saturday night, retaining his WBC heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with a huge right hand to the chin.
This was the champions 20th first-round KO, his 41st victory in 42 fights.
From the opening bell Wilder dominated the fight, landing big shots early. A right hand hurt Breazeale, who shook his head and smiled as if the punch did not hurt, but it definitely did. Breazeale did mount a short rally, landing a couple of right hands that knocked Wilder off balance for a second, but that was all he could do before Wilder jumped back on his opponent, backing him into the corner with a flurry of punches and setting him up with a beautiful right hand that knocked Breazeale out shortly there after.
“I saw him slow up a little bit. When I hit him with the right hand the first time, his body language changed,” Wilder said. “When you’ve been in with so many guys, you can recognize body language.”
Breazeale did try to get back up, but referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight as Breazeale got back up on his feet.
“Everything just came out of me tonight, you know?,” Wilder told Showtime’s Jim Gray after the fight. “I know there’s been a big buildup to this fight and there was a lot of animosity, a lot of chaos, a lot of hatred against each other. It was a lot of words that was said, and it just came out tonight.”
Wilder caused some controversy earlier this week, saying that Breazeale’s life was on the line in this fight, but both men embraced more than once after the fight, showing each other respect and putting their bad blood and differences aside.
“I just told Breazeale, I told him I love him,” Wilder said. “And, of course, I wanna see him go home to his family. I know we say some things we mean sometimes, but then when you get into a fight and settle your differences as men and you hold these gloves up, these fists, that’s what this sport is all about. And you can come to the next man and hug him and kiss him and say, ‘Thank you so much,’ you know, instead of other things. I wish the world was like that, where we can handle this with our hands and at the end of the day, we can hug each other and say, ‘You know what? We live to see another day.’ This is what it’s all about.”
When asked about the possibility of a mega fight with Anthony Joshua, Wilder let his feelings be known.
“I think it will happen,” Wilder said. “The heavyweight division is lit right now. And it is our obligation and our duty to give the fans what they want. The next time the discussions will come around, something will get done.”
Breazeale made no excuses after the fight.
“I think the ref stopped it a little early because I could hear him saying seven and eight, but that’s boxing,” Breazeale said. “He did his job and kept us safe for our next fight. … This was a situation where he landed the big right hand before I did. I thought I was gonna come on in the later rounds. I’ll be back and go for the heavyweight title again.”
With his victory Saturday night, Wilder successfully defended his WBC title for the ninth time since beating Stiverne back in January 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
~ The Fighting Voice ~