British boxing favourite Anthony Joshua returns to London's O2 Arena on Saturday night (25 June) to mount the very first defence of his IBF world heavyweight title in front of an adoring home crowd.
How to watch
In the United Kingdom, Joshua vs Breazeale is available to order and watch live via Sky Sports Box Office. The broadcast begins at 7pm BST, with the initial warm-up fights due to get underway an hour and 45 minutes prior. Fans in the US can also watch the main card on Showtime Sports from 5.15pm ET/PT.
April's clash with Charles Martin was supposed to act as comfortably the toughest test of Joshua's two-and-a-half year professional career to date. Going up against a relatively unknown quantity and a similarly sized awkward southpaw with a supposedly booming left hand, many warned against the potential pitfalls of being fast-tracked to a world title shot too soon.
He ultimately made a mockery of that unnecessary caution, however, dominating in trademark fashion from the outset and sending his vastly inferior opponent spinning to the canvas with a devastating right hand in round two.
While Martin managed to get back to his feet the first time, he swiftly walked straight into another huge shot and could not muster the strength or the inclination to beat the referee's count. Joshua's 17th consecutive knockout victory saw him deservedly claim the IBF strap, previously vacated by Tyson Fury, as the fifth-fastest man ever to win a world heavyweight title.
It was generally predicted that such a commanding triumph would bring fights against the likes of domestic rivals Fury and David Haye much closer, but his first voluntary defence comes against another challenger from across the pond in Breazeale. The 30-year-old California native is also undefeated in his 17 contests, although his 2012 Olympic campaign was rather shorter than gold medalist Joshua's as it ended in the first round.
He was also knocked down by veteran Amir Mansour at Staples Center in April courtesy of a big right hook upstairs, but eventually recovered his composure to win when the latter retired on his stool at the start of the fifth while complaining that he could not close his mouth. Breazeale, nicknamed "Trouble", had previously won a questionable decision against the much smaller Fred Kassi. He is not expected to pose much of a threat to Joshua's early reign.
What they've said (quotes via Boxing News 24)
Anthony Joshua: "You're in my jungle now. There's no pressure on me. Once that bell goes, you can't hide the instinct, the instinct that you want to get someone out of there. I hope I can go in there, stay relaxed and do what I planned to do. But once that bell rings something just comes over you and you want to get him out of there ASAP.
"There will always be pressure. But look, it's always been the same concept: Train hard – it's the same ring. It hasn't changed. I've got nothing to lose. I've always explained let's get rid of the belts, the atmosphere, because when the bell goes it's just me and him in the ring. Two gladiators, two respectful warriors coming together.
"We're going to slug it out and put our zeroes on the line. I'm prepared, Dominic is prepared as well, and one of us has to take a loss. Each fight is a stepping stone to the big tests. I want to look like the real deal. I think we're in the golden era of boxing again."
Dominic Breazeale: "I respect you as a fighter, but I'm going to beat you. I've got to beat the best of the best. I can't wait, it's been an opportunity I've been waiting eight years for this. It's an opportunity of a lifetime and I'm ready for this. Expect fireworks. We'll be going round for round, punch for punch and I expect to knock out Joshua.
"I got a big right hand, I have a big left hook. I stand 6-foot-7, 255 pounds. I'm unorthodox – I'm a guy that can fight on the inside, I'm a guy that can take a punch, I'm a guy that can give a punch. So if any one of those given things show up on Saturday night I'm getting a knockout, for sure.
"It's a major advantage just for me to have Anthony Joshua the whole time. I don't want him at any given point for him to feel like he's in his comfort zone, his own backyard or his own little lion's den. That's what I came across the pond to do. I came across the pond to get my belt and take it back home with me. It's my Super Bowl. Being a former football player, this is my Super Bowl."
Joshua: 16 fights, 16 wins (16 via knockout)
- (W) Charles Martin - knockout - April 2016
- (W) Dillian Whyte - technical knockout - December 2015
- (W) Gary Cornish - technical knockout - September 2015
Breazeale: 17 fights, 17 wins (15 via knockout)
- (W) Amir Mansour - retired - January 2016
- (W) Fred Kassi - unanimous decision - September 2015
- (W) Yasmany Consuegra - technical knockout - June 2015
Joshua to dominate from the first bell and win via another comfortable knockout, probably as early as the second round.
Odds (via Betfair)
- Anthony Joshua - 1/25
- Dominic Breazeale - 14/1
- Draw - 35/1
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