A name that has gone under the boxing radar for a good number of months is that of Dominic ‘Trouble’ Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs): a fighter that in 2016 was on the tongues of a lot heavyweight boxing fans as the next challenger and potential threat to the IBF champion ‘AJ’ Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs).
In that fight, Dominic showed his heart but was ultimately outclassed and punished by his British opponent and suffered his first professional loss by a 7th round technical knockout. Since that world championship opportunity, Dominic vowed to return, better himself and shake up the heavyweight division by re-establishing his name as a legitimate threat. In February of 2017, Dominic was on the road to redemption when he engaged in a grueling and thrilling 5 rounds of pure action against Polish fighter Izuagbe Ugonoh (18-1, 15 KOs), which saw both competitors dropped, hurt and exhausted. Superior conditioning favored Breazeale, and this helped in lifting the Californian from the canvas to knock the muscle-bound Ugonoh through the ropes and end the fight. The excitement from this match received plaudits from across the sport of boxing. It then took almost 10 months for Dominic Breazeale to step foot in a ring again, as he went head-to-head with former title challenger Eric ‘Drummer Boy’ Molina (26-5, 19 KOs) on the undercard of WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) vs. Bermane Stiverne (25-3, 21 KOs) #2 in November. Although less gripping than the fight with Ugonoh, Eric Molina proved to be a sturdy customer, lasting until the 8th round when Dominic knocked Molina down and forced him to quit on his stall. Since that night, Breazeale has been inactive for somebody only 32 years of age and trying to prove himself, not just for title contentions, but as a dominant force in his weight category.
It is slowly creeping up to an entire year since Dominic Breazeale last fought. Only a few weeks ago, there was a discrepancy with the World Boxing Council regarding who currently holds the mandatory position for a shot at Deontay ‘The Bronze Bomber’ Wilder and his belt. London-based fighter, Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) expressed his anger across his social media platforms, as just like Breazeale and Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs), Whyte was misinformed to be Wilder’s mandatory challenger by the WBC president, Mauricio Sulaimán. However, with the rumours of the Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder negotiations collapsing, Dillian Whyte pursuing former WBO heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) and Luis Ortiz failing at his recent attempt to claim the WBC heavyweight championship – this leaves Dominic Breazeale vs. Deontay Wilder as the only logical match-up.
To put it into perspective, all current heavyweight champions have been more active than Breazeale. Somebody in Dominic’s shoes should be fighting at least every 3 months to gain that valuable experience and avoid ring rust. We can assume that the Californian does spar frequently in the gym, but sparring is completely separate to the adrenaline surge of a genuine fight. You become too familiar with the style and habits of your sparring partners, this does not necessarily translate when competing in a real match. In terms of activity, Dominic will definitely need a warm-up fight before he leaps in with knockout artist Deontay Wilder. He will need somebody tall and awkward to mimic that unconventional technique of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ and practice neutralizing the Alabaman’s right-hand. One viable opponent for Breazeale could be previous world champion, Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KOs), who has just returned from a long layoff and looked subpar in his latest bout. This would be a good learning curve for both fighters. It gives Dominic the opportunity against somebody who is tall, unpredictable and a former title holder, and also give ‘The Gypsy King’ a more credible opponent to rebuild his professional career. Whether or not this would happen is another issue.