Aftermath: Wilder vs Breazeale
Photos: Al Bello / Getty
Tom Craze, Callum Rudge, Lee Gormley, Chris Williamson, Oliver McManus, Luke G. Williams, Colin Harris, Luke Byron and Anthony Cocks react to Deontay Wilder's one-punch, one-round KO of Dominic Breazeale in last night's WBC heavyweight title clash...
BM: Did we learn anything new about Wilder last night? How do you now rank the top three heavyweights in the world and which of this trio will fight one of each other next?
TC: No, I don’t think so. Wilder has previously made more of a meal of challengers like Breazeale, but the WBC champion had seemed particularly dialled-in all fight week, and some previous enmity between the two meant there was no complacency. Above all, Wilder underlined that he can punch like very few others – but if you didn’t learn that until last night, where have you been? Wilder will almost certainly fight Luis Ortiz next, but if pushed to predict which of the other ‘Big Three’ he’ll fight next, I’ll go with Joshua. There seems to be an openness from DAZN to work with Wilder, and it feels like Fury is now operating in a silo. For now, my order is the same as it was before last night: Joshua, who still has the deepest record; then Fury, then Wilder. There’s not much in it, though.
CR: I don’t think we learned anything new. Wilder is the hardest puncher in the sport and given the opportunity will do that to any fighter. Last night's result was the only one where Wilder could emerge with some credit and he should here. The top three is probably: Joshua, Fury and Wilder, in that order. I could easily swap Fury for Wilder as the Gypsy King’s second best win is Dereck Chisora and I was one of the few who felt a draw between Wilder and Fury was the correct result last December. I agree with Tom, I think Fury is going to enjoy his ESPN contract for a few fights before fighting Wilder or Joshua, so I see those two as the most likely to meet, if pushed.
LG: We didn't really find out anything new. It was obvious that Wilder has the most explosive right hand in the sport and can end a fight at any time with it. I thought Breazeale might have gave him a sterner test but that brutal straight right was on point once again. There's been no indication that any of these guys are going to fight anytime soon and I really don't expect any of them to meet until at least next year, sadly. If Joshua really truly wants the unification then he needs to push for it in front of the American crowd when he beats Andy Ruiz Jr
CW: We didn’t learn anything new as such about Wilder but successfully repeating your trick underlines how effective it is and a first-round KO of a top 15 heavyweight is always impressive. My current top three is 1. Joshua 2. Fury 3. Wilder, with Joshua vs Wilder seeming the most likely next episode of boxing’s most tedious soap opera.
OM: No, we didn't learn anything new about Wilder last night. He did, however, underline in a big marker pen his credentials as the hardest hitting fighter on the planet. If you stand anywhere within range of those long, gangly limbs of his then you're almost guaranteed to get chopped down. My rankings stay the same as beforehand - Joshua, then Fury, then Wilder but the gap is ever closing as the maelstrom of much of a muchness continues. Joshua vs Wilder is probably the most likely to happen, with Fury sitting pretty on his ESPN deal, but I'd still be surprised to see it happen in 2019.
LW: I think we learned something crucial about Wilder (as BM editor Graham Houston also stressed on Twitter), namely that the 'Bronze Bomber' is a superior force when heavier than he was against Tyson Fury - he weighed 223lbs for last night's fight as opposed to 212 against the 'Gypsy King'. My top three if Fury followed by Joshua and Wilder, but I'm a lineal obsessive. Joshua vs Wilder is probably most likely to be the next time any of the top three meet, although it won't be this year in my opinion.
CH: Before this fight I commented 'I'm not previewing Wilder vs Breazeale as I think it's a bit poor tbh. It's over when Wilder commits himself enough to end it'. It's lovely when you can justify looking so wise after the event, and like everyone else I revel in a successful prediction, however I thought Breazeale would have made it to the third or fourth round. I thought he looked ill-prepared, unmotivated and ready to collect a paycheck, and it was only as he barged his way from out of the far corner that he seemed to realise he was in a fight, not a sparring session. Taking nothing away from Wilder, who did what he had to do in impressive fashion, but it was all a bit unnecessary really and I'd rather have seen a fresh contender get the shot. Right now the pecking order at heavyweight simply has to be how BM has it: (1) Joshua, (2) Fury, (3) Wilder - although there's virtually nothing in it. I think it's most likely that we see Joshua vs Wilder before any other showdown among the top three, but I think they'll both have another contest before this occurs, probably in early 2020. To be honest, I think we just want to see any combo of the three fight each other... ASAP!
LB: We still know that Wilder is as close to box office entertainment as you can get and that if you’re going to plant your feet against him then you should prepare to hit the canvas soon after. I think it’s hard to rank a heavyweight top three as their resumes are all fairly even. I think Wilder beats the pair of them if they fight and will eventually stake his claim as undisputed champion (if given the chance). I think Wilder and AJ will be the next to face each other. If Fury was interested then he’d have taken the mandated rematch, but instead seems content to collect big money facing guys like Schwarz while telling us he could beat the others from a distance. A big win for AJ against Ruiz will place even more hype on a Wilder bout and I think the two parties will come together to make it happen at the end of the year.
AC: Based on resumes and recent activity, I rank Joshua slightly ahead of Wilder, with Fury coming in third. Team Wilder rightly fancy their chances against AJ, who isn't as defensively astute as Fury. Wilder will never show us anything new but he will always reinforce the importance of having fight-ending power, particularly relevant in the sport's flagship division