For the ninth time during his reign, Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) will defend the WBC heavyweight title. Wilder will take on Dominic Breazeale (20-1-0, 18 KOs) at the Barclays Center on Saturday, May 18. The fight airs on Showtime PPV, with the broadcast beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
The proud Alabaman first won the title in 2015 with a sensational performance against Bermane Stiverne in a lopsided unanimous decision victory, one of only two bouts in his career he hasn’t finished with a knock out. Since then, he’s defended his title successfully eight times, including another win over Stiverne, this time atoning for his non-knockout with a first round KO.
Over that time, Wilder has developed from a raw, powerful talent into a more complete fighter, although there are some that still question his boxing bonafides in the ring. His first defense against Eric Molina in Birmingham, Alabama was partially spent working on things in the ring, like using his left hand more effectively for power shots, knowing the right hook was always there waiting to end the fight if needed. Since then, he’s shown similar patterns in fights, sometimes looking downright sluggish in mid-rounds as he plies his craft, but he typically finds the opening to deliver the knockout blow once his opponent tires some and lets down his guard.
His last retention, however, came via a split decision draw against Tyson Fury, in which he was unable to turn out the lights on the big Brit despite a stunning knockdown in the 12th round that many assumed would be the end of the bout. That left some questions about Wilder, and whether his run as champion could be teetering, but he’ll look to answer those in a big way on Saturday.
Breazeale is a hefty underdog at +450, as his only other world title fight ended with him being knocked out by Anthony Joshua, the other superstar heavyweight titleholder in boxing. Wilder spoke with Uproxx on the phone last week to discuss his journey in boxing, what still pushes him into the ring after eight defenses, and why he’s confident his KO streak will restart and Breazeale’s night will end in spectacular and painful fashion on Saturday.