by: Sean Crose
There was much hope earlier in the week that a heavyweight superfight between WBC heavyweight titlist, American Deontay Wilder and British multi-titlist Anthony Joshua would come to fruition. “BREAKING NEWS for all you @anthonyfjoshua fans,” Wilder tweeted. “The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”
In the matter of a few days, however, the excitement of the fight world began to fizzle.
There is now a growing belief that Joshua, who is known to sell out entire stadiums, or his team, are not particularly eager to get in the ring with Wilder at any point in the near future, even though it’s clear Joshua would be the favorite walking in. One particular person who doesn’t think team Joshua wants a piece of Wilder at the moment is Wilder’s own trainer, Mark Breland. Breland, a former Olympic gold medalist turned multi-time world welterweight champion admits that “eventually, they’re going to have to fight,” but he doesn’t believe “it’s going to happen any time soon.”
Breland, an extremely tall welterweight in his time (over six feet in height) has done exceptionally well with his supersized pupil, but is nearly Wilder’s polar opposite when it comes to personalities. Whereas Wilder has become famous for being loud and brash, Breland is quite and polite. He’s the nice guy to Wilder’s bad boy. Still, Breland isn’t a man to mince words. This is particularly true when it comes to team Joshua. “I don’t think they want the fight,” he says frankly. Breland makes it clear that, while Wilder is forever calling out Joshua whenever he fights, “when Joshua fights, he doesn’t talk.”
The perceived lack of a mutual eagerness to get in the ring hasn’t gone unnoticed. And while few would accuse Joshua of being fearful of Wilder, Breland feels the Joshua camp’s sentiment is “he doesn’t need Deontay. Deontay needs him.” Breland points out, however, that Wilder holds the WBC belt, long regarded as the crown jewel of boxing titles. “He’s got the top belt,” Breland says of Wilder, knowing that, without it, Joshua will never be seen as a completely dominant champ. In the meantime, Breland feels as if Joshua won’t be facing the kind of competition he should. “Ortiz,” he points out as an example. “That’s one fight they will not take.”
Although Wilder is the biggest fight that can be made at heavyweight, Breland believes team Joshua, led by Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn, are clearly willing to buck fan sentiment, at least for the time being. “They want Deontay to fight somebody else,” he says.