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Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale: Preview

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On April 9th Anthony Joshua knocked out the USA’s Charles Martin to claim the IBF world heavyweight title. The Watford born fighter has had a meteoric rise to prominence, claiming the world championship after only 16 fights, all of which he won by knock out.

With stats like these, Joshua has risen to world championship level quicker than many of the greats: Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson included. But it could be argued that Joshua has still not seen a real test in the ring; Martin was dispatched in the second round, and many of Joshua’s fights, with the exception of Dillian Whyte, have gone similarly.

Dominic Breazeale

So what to make of Dominic Breazeale? The 6ft 7 American was announced this week as Joshua’s opposition for his first title defence, scheduled for June 25th at London’s O2 arena.

Breazeale’s record is impressive – he’s unbeaten in 17 professional bouts with 15 wins by K.O., but can he present Joshua with a real challenge? Some argue that the 30 year old is far too similar to Charles Martin, as a tall, weighty fighter only really tested in American domestic fights. Because of this many predict a similar outcome to the Martin bout; bookmakers have Joshua odds on not only to win, but to knock out Breazeale.

Speaking to Sky Sports, however, Breazeale said: “I did watch the [Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua] fight. I thought it was a bit of an embarrassment on Charles Martin’s part.”

Breazeale is confident he can upset bookmakers at the O2, relishing the idea of doing so in Joshua’s back-yard. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that 12 of Breazeale’s 17 pro-bouts have been fought in his native California, and he’s never previously fought abroad other than a first round loss in the 2012 London Olympics.

Joshua won Gold in 2012 and the disparity in their Olympic records further symbolises how big a step this is for Breazeale. But to his credit, Breazeale is approaching the upcoming fight as a chance to prove those who doubt his ability wrong.

Breazeale’s last fight, against Amir Mansour, was a closely contested affair. Breazeale was knocked down once and behind in the scores. Come the second round, however, Mansour bit his tongue badly and the breathing difficulties that ensued, combined with an illness he was suffering with at the time, left Breazeale the winner on a technicality.

The fact that the American is coming to the O2 not only as a 10-to-1 underdog, but seemingly on the back of good fortune as opposed to on merit, makes it harder to predict an upset.

Another Joshua win is most likely on the cards, but he will probably be hoping for Breazeale to prove himself a more worthy adversary than Martin and give him some rounds. Joshua needs an extended test in the ring if he’s to consider taking on Tyson Fury or David Haye in the near future, as speculators continue to suggest.




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