UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Dominic Breazeale didn’t dwell on his devastating defeat to Deontay Wilder.
Breazeale didn’t hesitate, either, when Al Haymon offered Otto Wallin as his opponent for Breazeale’s first fight since Wilder knocked him out in the first round in May 2019. Changing trainers, from Virgil Hunter to Abel Sanchez, and preparing differently has boosted Breazeale’s confidence entering a 12-round heavyweight fight Showtime will air Saturday night from Mohegan Sun Arena.
“I definitely plan on knocking his ass out,” Breazeale told BoxingScene.com. “I can tell you that much. I’m gonna bring a good pace and make sure he’s uncomfortable from the opening bell till however long he lasts. But I’m in phenomenal shape, I’m in good hands with Abel Sanchez and I’m looking forward to showing off Saturday night.”
The 6-feet-5, 240-pound Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) has not been knocked out in 7½ years as a pro. His only loss came in the fight fans remember most from his career – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to unbeaten WBC champ Tyson Fury in September 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The Swedish southpaw tested Fury, who suffered a nasty gash above his right eye in the second round from one of Wallin’s punches. Wallin wants to prove he’s more than just an opponent that gave Fury a tougher fight than expected against Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), his most accomplished opponent other than England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs).
Breazeale’s only losses were knockout defeats to Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) and IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) in title fights. The former Northern Colorado quarterback hopes a victory over Wallin will mark the beginning of his journey toward a third title shot.
The 6-feet-7 Breazeale weighed six pounds more for this fight (261¼) than he did the day before he challenged Wilder at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Eastvale, California, resident still feels like he is in better condition because he did much more roadwork during this camp than he did in camp for that fight.
“I think the changes were done at the right time,” Breazeale said during a press conference Thursday. “You know, I made a trainer change going into the Wilder fight. Nothing against Virgil Hunter, a great, world-renowned trainer. Just wasn’t the right fit for myself at the time. I made a change with Abel Sanchez now, at The Summit Boxing Gym, up in Big Bear, California. And it’s been huge. It’s been one of those things that I wish I would’ve done years ago. Abel’s actually got this thing written on the wall that says, ‘Imagine what if.’ And I imagine what if every night.
“I wish I was there a year, two years ago, but the seven weeks I was with him was a blessing in disguise, man. My conditioning level’s better, my strength is better, my confidence is through the roof. But at the same time, sometimes subtle changes in a boxer’s career is what it takes to get you back to the mountaintop. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve been there twice now, and I’m on the road for the third time.”
Breazeale-Wallin will be the second of three fights Showtime will televise Saturday night (9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST).
Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) will oppose Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs) in the main event, a 12-round welterweight fight. Robert Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, and Ryan Martin (24-1, 14 KOs), of Chattanooga, Tennessee, will square off in the opener of the telecast, a 12-round junior welterweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.