By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will host a heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
This bout will be put on by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be televised live on Showtime.
Garry Russell Jr. will also be appearing on the card and will take on Kiko Martinez for Russell’s WBC Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both title bouts.
Gary Russell Jr.(29-1) vs. Kiko Martinez (39-8-2); WBC Featherweight Title
Whenever the name of Gary Russell Jr. comes up a debate follows if he’s a legitimate pound for pound fighter or not.
He’s a boxer who’s only blemish on his record came at the hands Vasily Lomachenko, a fighter most will agree is a pound for pound great. However, he’s also a boxer that has only fought once a year since 2015 and frustrates fans for his inactivity.
Russell will be facing Kiko Martinez on Saturday, a 33 year old boxer with eight losses on his resume and five of those losses coming since 2013. Martinez has been very active, as he fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Martinez will also have about a two inch reach advantage and a half inch height advantage over Russell.
However, Russell has a clear edge in his resume of defeated opponents and amateur background. He won several national tournaments as an amateur in the United States and represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Martinez does not have the amateur pedigree of Russell.
Russell has defeated the likes of Joseph Diaz, Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Christopher Martin. Martinez has defeated the likes of Marc Vidal, Hozumi Hasegawa, Jeffrey Mathebula, and Jhonatan Romero. He has losses to the likes of Carl Frampton (twice), Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, and Josh Warrington.
Even though Martinez has been more active than Russell, he doesn’t’ have the talent of Russell and has several losses and draws in recent years, including two losses by stoppage. This shouldn’t be a fight that Russell will have issues in.
Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) vs. Dominic Breazeale (20-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
This won’t be Dominic Breazeale’s first chance at a heavyweight title. When he last challenged for the heavyweight title he was stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua.
On paper, it appears unlikely this fight will be much different.
Breazeale has power, as he has stopped eighteen of his opponents, but he also can be stopped, as he only made it to the seventh round when he faced Anthony Joshua. He’ll need a strong chin when he faces Wilder, who has stopped thirty nine of the forty opponents he has faced, and even knocked down Tyson Fury in their disputed draw.
Both boxers stand at 6’7” and Wilder will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage. Wilder fought twice in 2018 and in 2017 while Breazeale only fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Both boxers represented the United States in the Olympics. Wilder competed in the 2008 Olympics while Breazeale competed in the 2012 Olympics. Wilder however was able to medal while Breazeale did not.
Wilder has beaten the likes of Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Breazeale has beaten the likes of Carlos Negron, Eric Molina, Izuagbe Ugonoh, Amir Mansour, Fred Kassi, Yasmany Consuegra, and Victor Bisbal.
Wilder is looking for a big money fight but has remained steadfastly loyal to Al Haymon and Showtime. Dominic Breazeale stands in his way of that big money fight, but it’s an obstacle that Wilder should be able to overcome.