IN his first interview since being sacked by Deontay Wilder, trainer Mark Breland didn’t pull any punches when reflecting on his former charge and the state of the heavyweight division.
Last year, Wilder jettisoned Breland from his team in the wake of his punishing loss to Tyson Fury, before then going on to accuse Breland of spiking his water during the fight and “betraying” him for ultimately throwing in the towel.
Breaking his silence in an interview with The Fight is Right, the former Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion said: “With Deontay and I, that’s a part of boxing I guess. His career is done now, so I’m done and he’s done. I’m done with him.
“One thing you all like to say is that, ‘He’s got a lot of power and that’s all.’ I wish him well and that’s it. Only got his power and we’ll see how far that takes him, that’s all I’m gonna say.”
When asked if he bought into the glove-tampering allegations Wilder made against Fury, Breland added: “I doubt it very much, I don’t know, I never seen nothing. But still at the same time – he’s not gonna beat Tyson Fury regardless.
“Jay Deas [Wilder’s head trainer] was standing right there when the man was getting his hands wrapped. If they put something in there, either Jay’s blind or..? Jay’s right there when he’s getting his hands wrapped and he didn’t say nothing. But to be honest, that’s how much [Deas] knows about boxing. Hell, [Fury] probably could’ve put a cast up in there and he wouldn’t have known!”
Elsewhere in the discussion Breland further criticised Wilder’s ability – in particular his jab – and predicted that Fury would have an easy night with Anthony Joshua should they fight.
Obviously, his comments could just be chalked up to sour grapes. That is, undoubtedly, how Wilder and his current team will see it. However, Breland is notoriously mild-mannered and enough time has passed to assume this isn’t a case of him lashing out.
If his remarks are taken seriously, they’re a damning inside view of Wilder and his team. They also aren’t criticisms that we haven’t heard elsewhere; that Deas is more of a yes-man than a trainer, and that Wilder lacks technical prowess. As to the point of Wilder’s career being “done” – well, that remains to be seen, but he certainly has significant hurdles to overcome if he wants to return to the top.
Carl Froch is no stranger to having former opponents appear on his podcast, Froch on Fighting, but this past week he was joined by an unexpected foe; George Groves. The pair shared a bitter rivalry over two fights but, in retirement, the bad blood seems to have abated on both sides.
It’s a fun episode, with plenty of friendly digs and interesting insight into their fights, proving once again that the format of ex-fighters chatting to people they shared the ring with is a fruitful one. So Carl, when can we expect the Andre Ward episode?
In the aftermath of his first professional defeat – a stoppage loss to Joe Joyce, in which he suffered a nasty eye injury – Daniel Dubois’ future was in question. Now, it appears to be taking shape.
The young heavyweight released a few videos on social media stating his intent to get back on track. This was followed by a report from MailSport, claiming that Dubois will now be trained by Mark Tibbs, with Martin Bowers – who has trained him until this point – moving into a managerial position. The report also claims Dubois has been told by doctors that he can return to action in April.
Should the news of a change in trainer be true, it would seem somewhat alarming on its surface. Dubois is still very young, and to change trainer after one loss could be construed as a rash decision, particularly when you consider the close relationship he had with Bowers. However, it seems that if Dubois does make a shift, Bowers will remain in the team. That’s a positive sign; Bowers has an excellent boxing brain and, crucially, knows Dubois very well. Tibbs, of course, is an esteemed trainer himself and can help add new facets to Dubois’ game.
After last week’s rambling in this column about how ESPN was doing a disservice to the sport by glorifying boxing YouTubers Jake and Logan Paul, this week Sky Sports and Yahoo Sports also got in on the fun. Both outlets ran columns on how the two brothers are somehow helping the sport by dragging it through the mud. Baffling.
It now also seems that the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez super-lightweight unification fight will indeed move from its proposed May 8 date, despite promoter Bob Arum insisting it wouldn’t. Mike Coppinger of The Athletic revealed that the bout is now likely to take place on May 22 so as to not clash with Canelo Alvarez’s mooted meeting with Billy Joe Saunders. A sensible move.
Ramla Ali, the first female Somali to ever box professionally, continues to make significant waves in mainstream media. This week she was interviewed by Vogue discussing not just her boxing but also her campaigns for issues such as healthy representations of body image for young girls.
As a professional model herself, Ali speaks from an informed position and is actively trying to do good with her profile. Her future in fighting is exciting; should she continue to be successful after her pro debut last year, she could have a large impact on the profile of women’s boxing.