Deontay Wilder reverses course, retains trainer who threw in the towel

·3 min read
Deontay Wilder assistant Mark Breland is keeping his job after throwing in the towel. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)
Deontay Wilder assistant Mark Breland is keeping his job after throwing in the towel. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

After Mark Breland threw in the towel to end last week’s heavyweight title fight, it sounded like he threw in his job along with it.

But Deontay Wilder announced on Friday that he’s had a change of heart. The man who officially put an end to Tyson Fury’s dominant TKO win will remain in Wilder’s corner.

‘Mark Breland is still a part of Team Wilder’

“I'm a warrior,” Wilder told ESPN’s Dan Rafael in a statement. “I feel the same way I felt on fight night. If I have to go out I want to go out on my shield.

“But I understand that my corner and my team has my best interest at heart. Mark Breland is still a part of Team Wilder.”

Wilder’s health was at risk

Wilder was on the wrong end of a beating when Breland threw in the towel in the seventh round of Saturday’s bout. He was bleeding from his face and his ear and had trouble maintaining his balance in the ring. Fury had knocked him down multiple times and was in complete control of the fight.

Had Breland not thrown in the towel, Wilder looked en route to a knockout loss regardless, and his health was at certain risk.

But Wilder has implored his team multiple times to never throw in the towel, regardless of what’s happening in the ring. Arguably the biggest puncher in the history of the sport, Wilder almost always has a chance to end a fight with one swing of his right hand.

He told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole earlier this week that he understood that Breland was looking out for his best interests, but he was not OK with the decision.

‘He has to accept my wishes’

“So I told my team to never, ever, no matter what it may look like, to never throw the towel in with me because I’m a special kind,” Wilder said. “I still had five rounds left. No matter what it looked like, I was still in the fight.

“I understand he was looking out for me and trying to do what he felt was right, but this is my life and my career, and he has to accept my wishes.”

Statements like that, and others he made in the ring and throughout the week, gave the impression that Breland’s time in Wilder’s corner was done. But it appears that some time away from the emotion of the loss led Wilder to decide to keep him on board.

‘I am a king that will fight to the death’

Wilder also released a video on Friday promising to “fight to the death” and “rise like a phoenix from ashes and regain the title.”

Despite Fury’s team being ready to move on from Wilder, the vanquished champion appears fully intent on enacting a rematch clause for a trilogy fight.

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