Deontay Wilder will have a significant change in his team as he prepares for his third fight with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Mark Breland, who threw in the towel to end Wilder-Fury 2 in February, will not be part of Wilder’s corner, Shelly Finkel, who advises Wilder, confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
Wilder was stopped in seven rounds by Fury during their rematch, and Breland’s role in the outcome was controversial. Wilder was sent to the canvas in Rounds 3 and 5, and with Fury gaining momentum and dealing more punishment as the fight wore on, Breland threw in the towel.
Afterward, Wilder was not happy about the decision to stop the fight, and with that Breland’s role in the camp appeared to be in jeopardy. However, the following week Wilder announced that his team would retain Breland as co-trainer.
On Friday, Finkel told ESPN that Breland “will not be part of the team for the next fight.” Jay Deas, who has been Wilder’s lead trainer for years, remains, as does assistant Malik Scott, a former heavyweight himself.
“I think things will switch around with the team that is there, with Malik being in more of a role, and there’s not much more to it,” Finkel said.
Finkel pointed out that before the second fight, Fury had replaced Ben Davison with SugarHill Steward as his lead trainer. The change brought out a more aggressive style from Fury for their second bout.
Breland is a respected figure in the sport, having captured an Olympic gold medal in 1984 and winning two major world titles as a professional. ESPN was not able to reach him for comment Friday.
“There hasn’t been wholesale changes,” said Finkel, who actually managed Breland during his pro career. “And without going into details no one knows what goes on in our camp weekly and monthly and before the fight. And no one knows if this change came about from that one fight, or there were some other things, and the culmination was the loss.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN on Wednesday that the third fight between Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) and Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) will be moved off the planned Dec. 19 date. As promoters look for a new date, Arum said he hopes it could be staged “a little earlier in December.”