Deontay Wilder produced a sensational first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale to defend his WBC world heavyweight title in New York.
Wilder, 33, flattened his fellow American with 43 seconds of the opening round left – taking his record to 41 wins and a draw from 42 bouts.
Breazeale was on the ropes early on before finding a solid shot to respond to the champion.
But Wilder finished the fight moments later with a huge right hand.
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After his victory, Wilder was approached by Cuba’s Luis Ortiz in the ring – a man he beat in 2018 – but when asked about potential contests with British heavyweights Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, said “no doors are closed” and that such fights “are in discussion”.
“All parties involved are talking,” Wilder told Showtime. “There’s too many people and opinions involved. It will take our teams to sit down, handle things, squash everything and get it done for the fans.
“The big fights will happen the way we all benefit. We risk our lives in here, so let us get our time to iron out our differences and you guys will know when it happens.”
‘I told him I love him’
Breazeale, 33, left the ring without talking, fresh from a punch which left him sprawled on the canvas and unable to answer the count.
His counter punch when cornered briefly saw Wilder engage in a couple of grapples but, when the action paused for breath, the champion followed a left-hand jab with a right to the jaw which was as accurate as it was destructive.
It was a 40th victory by knockout for Wilder and just a second career loss for Breazeale, following his 2016 defeat to Anthony Joshua.
And afterwards Wilder spoke warmly about his beaten rival, despite history of the pair clashing at a hotel two years ago and fightweek comments from the champion where he raised the topic of an opponent dying in the ring.
“Everything came out of me tonight,” Wilder told Showtime. “I know it’s been a big build-up, a lot of animosity, chaos and hatred to one another, a lot of words said. It just came out tonight.
“This is what makes boxing great. When you have stuff to overcome.
“I’ve told him I love him and I want to see him go home to his family. I know we say things we mean sometimes but when you get into a fight and settle your differences, if you can then hug him and kiss him, I wish the world was like that, handle things with our hands and then live to see another day.”
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Wilder’s power a threat for the best
With this win, Wilder successfully defended his title for the ninth time, becoming only the 10th man to achieve that consecutive milestone in the heavyweight division.
The Alabama fighter’s ring craft has at times been ridiculed due to his unorthodox nature and a controversial draw with Fury in December led some to claim he was exposed against a skilled fighter.
What is undeniable is his vicious power and a right hand which erupts in a way where he only needs to land sporadically to swing things his way.
Fury, downed twice in their Los Angeles thriller, knows all about it but will he face the threat in a rematch? And will we ever see Wilder and Joshua fight for the four world titles they possess?
Wilder said a rematch and the big fights will come but, with all three men signed to different broadcasters, each with their own financial goals, the biggest fights of all will need to take place at the negotiating table.
His manager Shelly Finkel told BBC Sport that fights of such magnitude are more likely in 2020 so, for now at least, heavyweight focus turns to Joshua’s defence against American Andy Ruiz Jr on 1 June and Fury’s contest with German fighter Tom Schwarz two weeks later.
Wilder has done his part and can bask in the glory of a highlight reel knockout. His rivals cannot slip up in the coming four weeks.