WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale, Wilder and his team announced at a press conference on Tuesday in Brooklyn, New York. The fight will take place on Saturday, May 18 inside the Barclays Center and will air on Showtime, Trend reported citing CBCSports.
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) is coming off a split draw with lineal champion Tyson Fury back on Dec. 1, 2018. Given the controversial nature of the outcome, it was speculated that an immediate rematch would be taking place at some point during the early portion of this year. The hope for the rematch disappeared, however, when Fury signed an exclusive deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank promotion in mid-February. Once the immediate rematch faded, the WBC ordered Wilder to defend against Breazeale, with negotiations to be completed by early April.
Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) also last competed in December 2018, earning a ninth-round KO victory over Carlos Negron inside the Barclays Center. This fight opposite Wilder marks the second time that Breazeale will challenge for a heavyweight championship. In June 2016, Breazeale suffered the lone loss of his professional career when he was dealt a seventh-round TKO loss to Anthony Joshua with the IBF heavyweight title up for grabs.
Speaking of Joshua -- the reigning WBO, WBA (Super), IBO and IBF heavyweight champion of the world -- he was somewhat a factor in this process as well. Last week, Wilder and his team traveled to New York to meet with executives from DAZN, lending the slightest bit of hope that positive talks would guarantee fans the fight they all yearn to see: Wilder vs. Joshua for the undisputed world heavyweight championship. According to ESPN, Wilder was offered two versions of a contract that would pit him against Joshua provided they each were victorious in interim fights. Ultimately, Wilder and his team turned down the offers that would have rewarded the WBC champion with a reported nine-figure payday.
Both rejected offers would have guaranteed Wilder and Joshua square off twice with Breazeale serving as Wilder's first opponent this spring. Joshua is set compete in the United States for the first time in his career on June 1 to defend his titles against Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller in Madison Square Garden.