In Pictures | Deontay Wilder vs Dominic Breazeale card | 19/05/2019
Deontay Wilder provided a devastating reminder of his significant punching power as he retained the WBC heavyweight title for the ninth time with a first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in a short-lived Brooklyn grudge match.
The Bronze Bomber had caused significant controversy in the build-up to Saturday’s bout after claiming that he was still “trying to get a body on my record”, but the long-standing rivalry between the American pair was not allowed to simmer for much longer as the fight was brought to an explosive conclusion in just 137 seconds.
“Everything came out of me tonight,” Wilder said afterwards. “I know it’s been a big build-up, a lot of animosity, chaos and hatred to one another, a lot of words said. It just came out tonight.”
Wilder landed a couple of heavy punches straightaway in the main event at Barclays Center, but left himself open to a counter-attack as he drove forward to the ropes for an early finish and was caught by a powerful shot from Breazeale, whose only previous loss had come at the hands of Anthony Joshua in London in 2016.
However, the Alabama native quickly steadied himself to produce one more crushing right hand that sank the helpless Breazeale to the canvas.
A count from the referee always looked a lost cause, with the challenger never likely to be able to fight on after such a brutal blow.
It was the 41st win and 40th knockout of Wilder’s 42-fight professional career and a swift return to dominance after he was held to a controversial draw by Tyson Fury in Los Angeles in December.
On the undercard in New York, Gary Russell Jr successfully defended his WBC featherweight title against Spain’s Kiko Martinez.
The Washington southpaw delivered a mesmerising display of blistering hand speed and sheer skill, overwhelming his opponent, who sustained a nasty cut near his left eye that eventually ended the contest shortly before the end of round five.
There was a majority draw between exciting Mayweather Promotions prospect Juan Heraldez and former IBF super-featherweight champion Argenis Mendez, while Gary Antuanne Russell and Richardson Hitchins secured impressive wins over Marcos Mojica and Alejandro Munera respectively.
There was also a split draw in the heavyweight bout between Robert Alfonso and Iago Kiladze.
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“Everything came out of me tonight. I know it’s been a big build-up, a lot of animosity, chaos and hatred to one another, a lot of words said. It just came out tonight.”
That was undeniably impressive from Wilder against an opponent whose abilities were probably vastly overstated as a result of all the pre-fight hostilities.
A ninth title defence puts him in good company, but I’m not sure we learned anything at all new there – he’s a massive puncher who can easily be hit.
It was an explosive, highlight-reel knockout, but it would have been nice to have had a bit of a contest after the considerable build-up.
Wilder promises in his post-fight Showtime interview that the big fights against the likes of Anthony Joshua will happen.
Luis Ortiz was also in the ring talking up a rematch of their tremendous March 2018 showdown, but Breazeale did not want to talk and headed straight back to his dressing room.
Wilder lands a couple of very heavy blows right out of the gate, but gets caught massively himself as he goes for the finish.
However, one more crushing right hand and it’s lights out for Breazeale! Devastating.
The referee did do a count but there was no point.
IT’S OVER ALREADY!
A FIRST-ROUND KNOCKOUT FOR WILDER!
HERE WE GO, FOLKS!
Will this be a straightforward or even explosive night for Wilder, or does Breazeale have it in him to spring a major shock?
After Wilder eventually has that outfit peeled off, it’s time for the introductions…
A remix of ‘In the Air Tonight’ plays and two men wearing gas masks dance as Wilder – decked out in his Bronze Bomber get up – stands shrouded in luminous smoke.
He is now edging slowly towards the ring to adulation from the Barclays Center crowd.
Another typically understated entrance from the WBC champ.
The 33-year-old looks composed as he nods his head to the music on a slow walk to the ring.
Breazeale has 20 wins from 21 pro fights, with his only loss coming with a seventh-round stoppage by Anthony Joshua in 2016.
Here comes Breazeale…
Wilder is having his typically extravagant ring-walk outfit fitted behind the scenes as we speak.
The bell now tolls in tribute to legendary boxing judge and analyst Harold Lederman, who died last week at the age of 79.
It’s almost main event time!
Wilder and Breazeale will be walking down to the ring very soon.
Russell Jr makes it clear in his post-fight interview that he wants to face Leo Santa Cruz next.
That nasty cut brings a premature end to proceedings as the referee waves the fight off with seven seconds left in round five.
A comprehensive beatdown delivered by the hugely impressive Russell Jr, who scores a fifth-round TKO.
With seven seconds of another one-sided round remaining, the referee calls a temporary halt to the bout to allow the doctor to assess Martinez’s messy left eye.
More considerable punishment for Martinez, who is getting hit hard and fast by both hands.
He is still trying to slow Russell Jr by getting tight and working the body, but the gulf in class is vast.
Russell Jr does not let up, landing fast, powerful shots at will. His hand speed is something to behold.
However, 33-year-old Martinez ends the round well to his credit, getting in close and unloading to the body.
This is already looking extremely ominous for Martinez, who has blood trickling from near his left eye.
Russell Jr produces a series of blindingly fast flurries that rock his overwhelmed opponent.
A busy opening round from smooth operator Russell Jr, whose speed forces Martinez to miss time and time again.