Thirteen months out of the ring, Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO) shook off some rust on Saturday night in Brooklyn to knockout an equally corroded Carlos Negron, now some 18 months out of the ring.
Leading up to the knockout the Puerto Rican Negron (20-2, 16 KO) began to appear gassed, avoiding shots and laying back to await an opening.
This caution was misplaced, however, and American Breazeale’s heavy-handedness eventually stopped the cagey Negron with what one commentator described as “a right hand from left field”.
Having earlier targeted the body, the KO itself came via an almost slow looping right, ending the fight to leave Negron flopping on the bottom ropes.
But Breazeale’s WBC title shot was clearly on his mind and, going to ringside, he immediately began an exchange with Deontay Wilder, in attendance only a few rows back among family.
In his post-fight interview he went on to say “It’s been way too long. Thirteen months for sure. I came in here, worked some ring rust off for sure, worked some great combinations, some body shots, and finally got the KO.”
Continuing to call out Wilder, he said “I know Wilder’s here in the crowd, he knows I’m next.
He better be holding on to that baby real tight, cause I’m coming. ‘Trouble’ is already here.”
Although the mandatory challenger against Wilder for the WBC heavyweight world title coming in to the fight, the governing body are yet to offer the American a world title shot.
Neither has Dillian Whyte - ranked as the number one challenger with the WBC and winning against Dereck Chisora in their rematch on the same night – been handed a world title shot.
A final eliminator between Whyte and Breazeale may be possible, as Wilder's rematch against Tyson Fury has been sanctioned while a possible unification clash with Anthony Joshua is still an option for the current too.
Joshua - having already beaten Breazeale in 2016 – has made clear he prefers a bout with Wilder over a rematch with Whyte.
Whilst calling for a fight with Joshua, Whyte has also brought to bear his No. 1 WBC ranking to call out Wilder.