Deontay Wilder improved his record to 41-0-1 with a first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
With just under a minute remaining in the opening round, Wilder connected with a thunderous right cross. Breazeale immediately fell to the canvas and was unable to get to his feet before the referee completed his 10-count.
Wilder was coming off a draw with Tyson Fury in December 2018—the first fight of his pro career he failed to win. Wilder knocked Fury down twice during the fight, but it wasn't enough to convince the judges.
Their first meeting was so entertaining a rematch seemed inevitable. However, Fury reached an agreement with Top Rank in February, creating a problem since Wilder is with Showtime-affiliated Premier Boxing Champions.
With Fury no longer an option, Wilder had to turn to Breazeale, the mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight title.
World Boxing Council @WBCBoxing
BREAKING NEWS: @BronzeBomber vs @Tyson_Fury is officially not happening next. The @WBCBoxing has received communications as our process and while Wilder confirmed its willingness to fight the rematch, Fury will take on another fight with expectations to do rematch at a later date https://t.co/vCkXwsQqCd
Now that Breazeale is out of the way, Wilder can once again turn his focus toward a possible return bout with Fury, who meets Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas. Assuming Fury clears that hurdle, the stage could be set for the huge clash.
Fury has already discussed the possibility of meeting Wilder again in the ring.
"I think 2019. I think December we're gonna see the rematch," he said on Behind The Gloves (h/t talkSPORT's Michael Benson). "We're gonna see me kick his ass again. This time though, he won't be able to live with me."
If Wilder wants a fresh opponent, he might attempt to revive negotiations with Anthony Joshua considering Joshua vs. Wilder is the most high-profile encounter the heavyweight division has to offer.
Joshua is unbeaten in his 22 professional fights—with 21 knockouts—and he holds the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts. His fall and winter should be free since his next fight is scheduled for June 1 against Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden.
Every time there seems to be progress in talks between representatives of the two fighters, things unravel and negotiations go back to square one.
Fox Sports' Mike Coppinger reported in March that DAZN had offered Wilder a three-fight, $100 million deal, which included the Breazeale date and two fights with Joshua.
While Wilder turned down that offer, the money indicated how much he and Joshua stand to gain by finally putting pen to paper on a contract locking them in for a date.