Both Deontay Wilder and Dominick Breazeale won their February 25th fights by TKO, but their battles that night were far from finished.
By all accounts, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder ran into heavyweight contender Dominick Breazeale in the lobby of their hotel after their respective victories and decided that there was very little need for words.
Breazeale spoke about the incident on his Instagram page.
Deontay Wilder spoke with Fight Scene and explained a very different account of the brawl.
"I did want to confront Breazeale, man to man and face to face, but just because we are fighters doesn’t mean we always have to act with violence and my only intention was to speak with him," stated Wilder. "I’m sure many of you have seen me on many occasions and those that know me knows I don’t travel with a big entourage. In fact, I don’t believe in it. I was accused of having a mob of 20 people and that’s just ridiculous."
"I approached Breazeale in the lobby alone as my team stood back and immediately a member of his team grabbed me. My brother was punched, people close to Breazeale yelled cuss words at me, and I lost my cool. My only concern was the safety of my family and my only brother. First, I did not throw a punch. Second, I did not make a comment about Breazeale’s children."
"Anything else you have heard is a lie because no matter how heated or protective I may be, I’m not the kind of man to go after someone’s kids. I understand how this incident looks given that I am heavyweight champion, but I want to ensure people I did not act in the manner Breazeale has claimed and the videos are clear about that. The statements from his team were untrue and a defamation of my character. I will go to great lengths to prove that.”
This doesn't excuse Wilder's actions and in a sport that encourages punching men in the head, there's clearly a better way to settle this dispute. With Wilder publicly campaigning for a late-Fall fight with the winner of Klitschko-Joshua, it'd be better served for him to schedule an early Summer contest with Breazeale
Nonetheless, Wilder offered an attempt at an apology after the story of the brawl grew legs.
"First and foremost, it is my honor to be the WBC heavyweight champion of the world and it was a wonderful experience defending my title in my home state of Alabama last night," said Wilder. "Holding this title is a privilege and one that I cherish. I know that this privilege comes with a great responsibility, not just inside the ring but also how I conduct myself outside the ring."
"I am disappointed that attention has been diverted away from my title defense and my conduct has come into question, it is important that I set the record straight with regards to the incident that took place in the hotel last night with Breazeale. We all know there are two sides to every story and the story the world has been told thus far is wrong. Breazeale confronted my brother in the arena and told him he would kill my entire family. There were many witnesses to this. My brother was the one provoked. I was very upset when I heard about that incident. This is my only brother and I am his keeper."
We will have to keep an eye out for where this rivalry takes these two fighters, but it's never bad to settle a score in the ring and get a hefty paycheck for doing so.