A heavyweight title fight that was marked in the pre-fight run-up by some especially strong taunts from World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder toward his mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale, ended in spectacular fashion with 43 seconds remaining in the first round, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday night.
The pre-fight mudslinging included Wilder telling Breazeale's family to make funeral arrangements for the fighter, according to CBS Sports.
The fight was broadcast live on Showtime.
Wilder, 33, hurt Breazeale, also 33-years-old, with a right hand to the top of the head earlier in the round. But the challenger, who came into the fight with a record of 20-1 with 18 knockouts, according to BoxRec, survived Wilder's subsequent onslaught and drove Wilder back with a right hand of his own. But just as the fight appeared to be settling into an even matchup, Wilder unleashed a roundhouse right hand that landed flush on Breazeale's chin, dropping him instantly.
Referee Harvey Dock completed his 10 count just before the clearly dazed Breazeale was able to rise to his feet.
"I think the ref stopped it a little early because I could hear him saying seven and eight, but that's boxing," Breazeale said after the fight, as quoted by CBS Sports.
Video of the spectacular knockout quickly went viral on social media Saturday night. Watch the KO in the video below."He had to be home in time had no time to waste," wrote one Twitter user, posting the video of Wilder's knockout punch. "#IfWilderHitMeWithThatPunch, I would be happy in heaven, reunited with both of my parents," wrote another fan on Twitter.
Wilder was reprimanded prior to fight by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman over his comments in which he appeared to promise to kill Breazeale in the ring, according to a Fox News report. Sulaiman said he would hold a hearing, suggesting Wilder would be disciplined over the comments, which the WBC chief called, "against the spirit of our sport."
"This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It's legal. So why not use my right to do so?" Wilder said in one comment leading up to the fight. And in another interview, he commented of Breazeale, "If he dies, he dies."
The bad blood between Wilder and Breazeale dates back at least two years, when the pair had a physical altercation in the lobby of an Alabama hotel, according to Boxing Scene.
The knockout brought Wilder's record to 41-0-1 with 40 knockouts, and marked a return to form after a lackluster draw against Tyson Fury, as The Inquisitr reported. Fury holds the heavyweight championship belt from the World Boxing Association and three other "alphabet" boxing sanctioning bodies, and the fight was supposed to unify the titles, but the controversial draw left the heavyweight title situation unchanged.