By Ian S Palmer
England’s unbeaten Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF Heavyweight Championship against undefeated Dominic Breazeale of the U.S. at the O2 Arena in London this Saturday, June 25th. Joshua, who likes to stay active, won the title in his last bout on April 9th when he dethroned American Charles Martin by second-round knockout in England. Breazeale last fought in January when he beat fellow American Amir Mansour by a fifth-round stoppage. Saturday’s 12-round bout can be seen live in the UK on Sky Box Office while fans in the U.S. can catch the action live on the Showtime network. Joshua is a former Olympic gold medalist who won the title in just his 16th pro bout.
The 26-year-old Joshua enters the ring with a perfect mark of 16-0 with a 100 per cent knockout ratio of 16 stoppages. He ended his first 14 bouts and has ended 15 of his 16 within the first three rounds. Joshua won the British title in his bout against Dillian Whyte and took the gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It’s safe to say he has better than average power, but his chin has still been untested up to now. He turned pro back in 2013 and has 34 rounds under his belt since. He’s a decent sized heavyweight by today’s standards as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall and has a reach of 82 inches.
Joshua’s most well-known opponents so far have been Martin, Whyte, Kevin Johnson, Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott. Joshua arguably possesses the better boxing skills of the two and also has the edge in power is, at least on paper. The former Olympic champ has decent mobility and upper body movement as well as a stiff jab, but he could be a bit too muscle bound. Joshua may try to stay away from a slugfest for the first few rounds by boxing Breazeale, using his jab and size advantage and nailing his opponent whenever he sees an opening. If he hurts him he won’t let up and it could be a short night.
The 30-year-old of Breazeale Alhambra, California is an undefeated former 2012 Olympian and will enter the contest with a perfect mark of 17-0 with 15 Kos to his name. He’s one of the bigger heavyweights around at 6-foot-7 and possesses a reach of 81.5 inches. This makes him an inch tall than Joshua, but he has half-an-inch reach disadvantage. He’s certainly able to pack some power in his punches as his current knockout ratio is an impressive 88 per cent. Breazeale also likes to stay active as he won three fights last year this is his second outing of 2016.
His win over Mansour wasn’t as impressive as it sounds since Mansour couldn’t continue due to a badly-cut tongue. Breazeale’s also fought opponents such as Victor Bisbal, Yasmany Consuegra, Billy Zumbrun, Nagy Aguilera and Fred Kassi. He’s gone 57 rounds since turning pro in 2012 after a fine amateur career. Breazeale was on the canvas in the third round against Mansour so his chin’s questionable. He’s gone 10 rounds once in his career and that was against Kassi. Since Breazeale, who is an ex-football player, doesn’t have a decided size advantage he’s not going to be able to take his time and fight from the outside if possible. Sooner or later both boxers are going to trade power shots and the fans should see some fireworks.
This fight probably won’t make it past four rounds, but who’s going to win it is more of a tossup. Both Joshua and Breazeale are unknown quantities at this point in their careers. This fight will come down to their respective punching power and chins. We know they can both throw bombs, so let’s narrow it down to their chins. He who can take a better shot will win this fight and going into it that looks like Joshua.