For the first time since facing Tyson Fury in the explosive world heavyweight title fight in December, the WBC champion Deontay Wilder returns to ring to take on Dominic Breazeale, the WBC number 4 ranked heavyweight.
As Wilder looks to reassert himself as the number one heavyweight in the world, it’s fair to say he has more questions to answer ahead of this fight after the draw with Fury.
In the aftermath of one of the best heavyweight fights of the last decade, people were calling for a rematch, with many claiming Fury had won the fight.
If Fury hadn’t gone down in the 12th round, he probably would have been crowned champion. This says plenty about Wilder’s performance, knocking down Fury twice and yet was still deemed lucky to have retained the title.
Wilder has a phenomenal record, having won 39 of his 41 fights by KO, Fury, however, represented the first time Wilder had stepped up in class as his record has seemingly been padded with fighters that are below his standard.
In defence of Wilder, he was keen on a rematch, but Fury signing with ESPN complicated negotiations as the American fights on rival network Showtime, meaning both networks would have to find a compromise to show the bout. Fury fights on June 15 against Tom Schwartz, who in terms of quality is far beneath Wilder.
With the Fury rematch out of question, he now finds himself fighting Breazeale, who Anthony Joshua beat in seven rounds back in 2016.
Wilder’s quality of opponent has been questioned even though the challenger is undefeated since his loss to Joshua, but mainly because Dillian Whyte, who has been ranked number 1 by the WBC for over a year, will potentially fight Fury and this bout would dwarf both Wilder’s and Joshua’s next title defences.
Wilder will likely face the winner of that fight, but the questions about Joshua will remain, especially given that Wilder has gone on record saying the Joshua fight will be delayed until 2020, infuriating boxing fans who will have to wait to watch the best fight once again.
In terms of the Breazeale fight, it should be a straightforward victory for Wilder as the fight in theory should be a steppingstone for Wilder to face better opponents.
Given he has put every fighter he’s faced on the canvas, it’s hard to see him not doing so against Breazeale.
Anything less than a convincing win for the Bronze Bomber will create further questions and many people have him third on the heavyweight pound-for-pound list behind Joshua and Fury. Going the distance with Breazeale will do him no favours.
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