Deontay Wilder re-evaluating role of trainer who threw in towel: ‘I’d rather die in the ring’


Deontay Wilder hasn’t been shy about literally fighting to the death in a boxing ring. That’s why the Bronze Bomber said assistant trainer Mark Breland was wrong to throw in the towel during Saturday’s heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury, resulting in Wilder’s first career defeat.

“I’ve told them many times that if anyone throws the towel in on me, there will be consequences,” Wilder told The Athletic in an interview Monday.

“I’d rather die in the ring than have the towel thrown in,” he said. “I’m a warrior. If I say I’m going in there to try to kill a man, I accept that in return he will have to kill me as well.” 

Wilder’s corner ended the highly anticipated matchup against fellow undefeated heavyweight Tyson Fury in the seventh round. It was clear Fury had been in control from the second round on. Wilder was bleeding from his ear and mouth and appeared unstable on his legs when Breland threw in the towel. He was taken to a hospital after the fight and recieved stitches in his ear, according to head trainer Jay Deas.

MORE: Deontay Wilder’s head trainer explains decision to throw in the towel

Yet Wilder is known for having the most devastating right hand in all of boxing — 41 of his 42 career wins have come from knockout — and it’s a common refrain that Wilder can end a fight at any time. He nearly pulled it off in the first fight between the two, which Fury also dominated but ended in a draw after Wilder rallied late to knock down Fury.

The most likely outcome for a Wilder victory was always a knockout. Even though Fury had been dominant, one strong shot to Fury could erase the entire scorecard and have Wilder continue his reign as the WBC titleholder. It was also clear that Wilder wasn’t in the physical condition that made a KO anything other than a longshot.

Wilder said immediately after the fight that the better boxer won. Cameras caught him asking Breland why he threw the towel in and said he didn’t agree with that decision. 

The Bronze Bomber was wobbly in the rounds before the fight was called in the seventh. He hung on to the rope for stability, and Wilder explained that there was a reason he didn’t have his usual strength under his legs. Wilder came out for the fight’s opening introductions in a costume that weighed 45 pounds.

The full-body costume was in celebration of Black History Month, Wilder said. His entrance entailed walking with the extra weight for a few minutes whereas Fury was carried into the ring as he sat on a thrown. 

The loss also comes with an opportunity to exercise a rematch clause, which Wilder told The Athletic he will do. It’s not known when, but it seems we are heading toward Wilder vs. Fury 3.