The head of the World Boxing Council took to social media Thursday to decry recent comments by Deontay Wilder in which the sanctioning body’s heavyweight champion suggested he wanted to kill a man in the ring. Wilder issued the threat toward Dominic Breazeale, a longtime rival and his opponent in a title fight on Saturday.
Among the remarks Wilder (40-0-1) made Tuesday in reference to Breazeale (20-1) were these: “His life is on the line for this fight, and I do mean his life. I’m still trying to get me a body on my record.”
“This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time,” Wilder added. “It’s legal, so why not use my right to do so?”
“I have seen Deontay Wilder comments which are regrettable and completely against the spirit of our sport,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said Thursday on Twitter. “I have known Wilder for a long time and he is not the person he portrays in such comments.
“His metaphors are against the WBC code of ethics and will be addressed in a hearing.”
Wilder and Breazeale have a history of bad blood that dates back to February 2017, when they fought separate opponents on a card headlined by Wilder in Birmingham, Ala. According to Wilder, the man he beat by technical knockout, Gerald Washington, was being cheered on by Breazeale, who later that evening threatened Wilder’s brother at a Birmingham hotel.
“He told my brother, and it was confirmed by other people that was around, that Breazeale made the statement that, ‘I’ll kill you. If my family wasn’t here, I’d kill you and your entire family.’ ” Wilder told USA Today this week. “And I don’t take threats lightly.”
Breazeale has disputed that version of events, including at a news conference Thursday promoting their fight. “Saturday night, he’s gonna pay for every lie he’s made up,” Breazeale said of Wilder.
What is certain about the incident is that a skirmish that was captured on video broke out at the hotel. Since then, Wilder has made a point of speaking extremely harshly about Breazeale.
In his interview with USA Today, Wilder made an unsettling reference to “Rocky IV” in saying of his upcoming opponent, “If he dies, he dies.” The 33-year-old, who began his career with 39 knockouts in 40 wins before settling for a draw against Tyson Fury in December, added, “This is boxing. This is not a gentleman’s sport. This is a gladiator’s sport."
In 2018, Wilder said of a possible matchup with Breazeale, “When it do happen, I’ma make sure he brings his son up on the stage to look the man in the eye that’s gonna cripple his daddy.” Breazeale quickly responded by calling for the fight to happen, saying (via talksport.com), “Be a man, step up, get the paperwork done, send the contract over. You and I, we can square this off in the ring and you’ll lose the only thing you’ve ever had good in your life. My revenge is coming.”
Of his antagonist’s recent comments, Breazeale said Wednesday (via boxingnews24.com), “Wilder has said some crazy stuff. I don’t think he means it. I think he’s in a situation where he’s got to talk, because he’s not comfortable with what he’s doing. He’s got to build himself up by saying ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do that.’
“I know he can’t have a body on his record,” continued Breazeale, a 33-year-old who has 18 knockouts and whose only loss came in 2016 to WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. “Let him say what he wants. That’s like a little chihuahua barking and barking.”
“Hey, Dominic Breazeale asked for this,” Wilder told reporters on Tuesday. “I didn’t go seek him, he [sought] me, so if [death] comes, it comes. This is a brutal sport, this is not a gentleman’s sport. I keep saying, this is not a gentleman’s sport. We don’t ask to hit each other in the face, but we does anyway.
“You can ask any doctor around the world, and he’ll tell you the head isn’t supposed to be hit. Anybody can go, and in this particular time we have bad blood against each other.”