When WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder defends his title against mandatory challengerDominic “Trouble” Breazeale on Saturday, May 18, he will not only seek to continue his run as the only American heavyweight champion, but also cement himself into the historic company of heavyweight legends that came before him.
In an event taking place live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, Wilder will attempt to defend his WBC title for the ninth time since first capturing the belt in January 2015. Wilder’s triumph marked the return of heavyweight prizefighting in America and the end of an eight-year drought without an American heavyweight world champion, the longest in the history of the sport.
“There has been a long line of great American heavyweight champions who represented our country with pride, strength and honor in the ring,” said Wilder. “I take the responsibility very seriously to pick up where they left off and continue to show every young fighter who looks up to me, that they one day can be the heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’m a champion of the world, but I represent for the entire country and everyone in it,” said Wilder. “I’ve fought challengers from all around the world, knowing in my mind how important it was to keep this title in the U.S.
If successful on May 18, Wilder will become just the 10th fighter in the more than 135-year history of heavyweight boxing to make nine or more consecutive successful heavyweight title defenses. Wilder would join an impressive list of Hall of Famers who dominated the sport during their reign – Tommy Burns, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko and future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko. *Note: number of title defenses listed below
“Fighters like Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and more have paved the way for me,” said Wilder. “Now I’m going to take what they started and make sure that the heavyweight world championship stays in America for a long time.”
Wilder’s successes in the ring have seen him skyrocket toward the kind of recognition that heavyweight champions have garnered throughout history. In 2018 he was ranked 34 on ESPN’s “World Fame 100” list, the top spot of any boxer in the world.
“Being the heavyweight champion and holding that title on the American sports landscape is a huge deal,” said Wilder. “There was a time where that person was as well-known as the president. I’m going to keep leaving a path of destruction inside the ring, so that everyone knows I am the one name and one face of the heavyweight division.”
List of fighters with nine consecutive heavyweight title defenses (listed chronologically):
1.) Tommy Burns (11)
2.) Joe Louis (25)
3.) Joe Frazier (nine)
4.) Muhammad Ali (nine in first run, 10 in second reign)
5.) Larry Holmes (20)
6.) Mike Tyson (nine in first run)
7.) Lennox Lewis (nine in second run)
8.) Vitali Klitschko (11 in second run)
9.) Wladimir Klitschko (18 in second run)