American heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder will reveal on Tuesday that the ninth defence of his World Boxing Council title will be against Dominic Breazeale on May 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn thus avoiding the money spinning battle against Nigerian born British Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua.
But the most pertinent news is likely to be that the unbeaten 33-year-old will eschew a reported offer of a $100million, multi-fight deal to switch broadcasters and sign for burgeoning sports streaming platform DAZN – at least for now.
It means the heavyweight ‘Game of Thrones’ continues as the respective handlers and broadcast companies jockey into position to maximise leverage from fights involving Wilder, Tyson Fury and three-belt holding Anthony Joshua.
Telegraph Sport understands Wilder will announce his fight with Breazeale will be on Showtime TV network, with whom he has had a long broadcast deal, but he will leave his options open to make the switch between broadcasters after this fight.
In winning, Wilder can place Showtime and DAZN in a bidding war for his signature. If he chooses DAZN, it hastens a showdown for all the belts with Joshua. If Wilder stays at Showtime, there is a chance of a simulcast rematch with Fury, now signed with ESPN in the USA. It is a mess, frankly, predicated around the biggest purses that can be created. But it was ever thus in heavyweight boxing.
“It was like this in the time of Mike Tyson,” Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager told Telegraph Sport on Monday, having managed former world heavyweight champion Tyson many years ago. “Complex and complicated. It’s that way when making the very biggest fights. But they got ironed out in the end like these will. There’s too much at stake for all these fighters for it not to happen.”
Wilder, who is unbeaten in 41 contests having drawn controversially with Tyson Fury early in December, appears in no rush to be pushed. Nor, perhaps, to be drawn to DAZN where Joshua is being built into a global star, according to DAZN executives. It is also understood that Wilder’s offer is around $20m a fight, rising to $30m for the Joshua fight.
“So many people try to dictate my career and tell me, ‘I should do this, I should do that, I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t do that’,” Wilder said this week. “$12.5m is laughable now, $15m is laughable. All this stuff I was supposed to have done, I didn’t do none of that and now look at my career. I’m betting on myself and you can’t go wrong with yourself. I love being a free agent, I love being able to move about doing what I do and we’ll see what the future holds.”