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Wilder looks to ‘swat’ Breazeale in Barclays bout

America’s heavyweight champ refers to next opponent as ‘fly’

May 15, 2019 JT Torenli
Unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder works out in front of the media Tuesday night at Gleason’s Gym in advance of his title bout at Barclays Center Saturday against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale. Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Make no mistake, this is simply the fight before “The Fight” for unbeaten WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder.

“The Bronze Bomber” hasn’t exactly hidden the fact that he wants world-renowned heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua in the ring by the end of this year.

But he must first take on mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale Saturday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

It will be Wilder’s fourth title defense on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, and one he hopes will finally lead him to a shot at Joshua, who currently holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts.

In his previous three Barclays visits, Wilder, an Alabama native with a 40-0-1 record, including 39 knockouts, has felled his opponents in the ninth, first and 10th rounds, respectively.

Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) is simply next on Wilder’s hit list as he continues his pursuit of becoming the first true undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

Wilder also is eager to become the first American brawler to hold that coveted title since Riddick Bowe back in 1992.

“There has been a long line of great American heavyweight champions who represented our country with pride, strength and honor in the ring,” said Wilder.

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“I take the responsibility very seriously to pick up where they left off and continue to show every young fighter who looks up to me, that they one day can be the heavyweight champion of the world.

Either way, the road to Joshua, a British icon revered as the division’s current champ, leads through Breazeale here on Saturday night.

“He’s like a fly in my ear,” Wilder said of Breazeale, his first challenger since he nearly lost his crown before earning a controversial split-decision draw against Tyson Fury last December at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“I’m going to get him out of there in a fashion no one has ever seen.”

Wilder has not fought in Brooklyn since taking out Luis Ortiz in 10 tough rounds here back on March 3, 2018.
He also knocked out Artur Szpilka in his Barclays debut back in Jan. 2016 and needed only one round to pummel Canada’s Bermane Stiverne in our fair borough in Nov. 2017.

“I love coming to Brooklyn,” Wilder said during Tuesday night’s media workout at the legendary Gleason’s Gym.

“The people here have adopted me. I’ve had some of my most dramatic knockouts here at Barclays Center. I’m looking forward to adding another one to my resume Saturday night.”

None of his previous Barclays fights have helped Wilder achieve the world-wide name recognition he desires as the baddest man on the planet.

But another dominating victory in Brooklyn over Breazeale will make it very difficult for Joshua’s camp to deny Wilder a shot at a unification bout.

“Dominic Breazeale asked for this. I didn’t seek him out. He came for me,” Wilder insisted.

“This isn’t a gentleman’s sport. We have bad blood and it’ll be in the ring Saturday night.”

A heavy underdog entering Saturday night’s title bout at Downtown’s Barclays Center, Dominic Breazeale (right) is no stranger to Brooklyn, having won his previous three fights here via knockout. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II
A heavy underdog entering Saturday night’s title bout at Downtown’s Barclays Center, Dominic Breazeale (right) is no stranger to Brooklyn, having won his previous three fights here via knockout. AP Photo by Frank Franklin II

That bad blood began bubbling back in Feb. 2017 in Alabama, where Wilder and Breazeale fought on the same card before engaging in a huge brawl at a local hotel shortly after their respective bouts.

“When you make it personal for me, now I really want to hurt you,” Wilder told TMZ Sports on Wednesday morning.

“I’m the man with the big right hand, baby. I possess all the power!”

He also possesses all the risk entering the squared circle Saturday night as Breazeale is simply trying to usurp his position as next in line for a shot at the undisputed crown.

The Glendale, California native is also no stranger to Downtown Brooklyn, having won each of his three previous fights here via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negron here last Dec. 22.

“I’m super excited for this. I’ve been waiting over a year and a half for a shot at this title,” Breazeale noted. “I’ve got three knockouts here at Barclays Center and I can’t wait for another.

As for being referred to as nothing more than a pesty fly in Wilder’s ear during the run-up to this fight Saturday night, Breazeale believes his actions will outweigh the champion’s words once the opening bell rings.

“Deontay loves to hear his own voice,” the challenger said. “All he does is talk and talk. It’s time to get in the ring. Nobody can get in there and save him. It’s just me and him. Leather on leather. We’ll see who lands first. Hopefully he gets off the canvas.”

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