Athletes deal with a defeat in different ways. Some learn valuable lessons in defeat, which makes them better moving forward. Alternatively, they could refuse to accept the loss, instead choosing to look for blame elsewhere, sometimes in the most bizarre places.
WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder would face ‘The Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury on the 22nd of February 2020, the fight a highly anticipated rematch between the two heavyweight greats, who had fought to an action-packed draw 14 months earlier. The bout would be billed as ‘Unfinished Business’ due to the nature of the closeness of the first fight.
The rematch would leave no doubt, Tyson Fury would dominate the shell-shocked champion from the first bell. In stark contrast to the tactics ‘Team Fury’ deployed in their first meeting Tyson would fight on the front foot, choosing an aggressive approach over the more conservative back foot boxer style. It delivered amazing results.
Wilder would visit the canvas in the third-round courtesy of a solid right hand. Though the brave champion managed to clamber to his feet, beating the 10 count, he wouldn’t fully recover for the remainder of the bout. Wilder would again have to show great heart in the fifth round when he was knocked down courtesy of a powerful combination from the rampant challenger. The fight would last two more rounds, then midway through the seventh round the towel would be thrown into the ring by the hand of Wilders cornerman Mark Breland. The referee didn’t hesitate in his decision to end this one-sided beating. The decision was the correct one, Wilder was taking a beating, he didn’t fully recover from the third-round knockdown, and it cost him. Would he have carried on, given the chance? Yes, as is a warriors nature, but it’s the joint responsibility of the corner team and the referee to protect the health of the pugilists under their control. Boxing has suffered from deaths in the ring in the past, we don’t need anymore.
Deontay didn’t see the situation like this though, he was adamant he should have been left to go out on his shield, but it can be the bravery of a fighter that ultimately costs him his health. Immediately after the fight, he let his feelings known, his anger towards his long-standing cornerman was clear.
“I told all my trainers, no matter how it may look on the outside, no matter how you may love me or have that emotional feeling, don’t make an emotional decision and do not ever throw that towel in because my pride is everything. I understand what it looks like but when you have power like me I am never out of a fight, no matter what the circumstances. I’m never out of a fight.” Wilder would later complain.
Rumours began to circulate. Many believed Mark Breland would be relieved of his duties with Team Wilder, a Team he had been a part of from the start. Meanwhile, Wilder looked for other excuses for his devastating loss, he would claim the weight of the costume he wore during the ring walk tired his legs. Rumours of a ripped bicep emerged, but one thing that remained clear is The Blonde Bombers’ anger with Mark Breland.
Other fighters spoke out against Wilders’s treatment of Breland. ‘He should be getting a medal from Wilder, not belittled the way he has been, it is very disrespectful. Just on that basis, I will never have any respect for Deontay Wilder again.’ Brit Dillian Whyte would tell The Sun newspaper.
Now, the new WBC champion Tyson Fury has spoken out on the Breland situation in a way that has taken everyone by surprise. Speaking to IFL Fury had this to say:
“If for some reason Mark Breland will not be working with Deontay Wilder then he will have a job with the Gypsy King,”
“If Wilder ain’t going to use Mark Breland then I’ll bring him in.
“Because he’s very good at what he does and he’s got the best interest of the fighter. I respect him.
“He’s a Kronk fighter and a former world champion. And I do believe if it wasn’t for Mark Breland Wilder could be seriously injured today.”
He added: “He got a lot of criticism from his team which I thought was very unfair and unjust because he saved his life.”
It’s safe to say the trilogy fight will be a spectacle as these two fighters never fail to entertain, what’s not as certain though is which corner Mark Breland will be working come the big fight.
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