Joshua to defend against Breazeale on June 25, Groves-Murray supports
IBF heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua has selected fellow 2012 Olympian Dominic Breazeale for his first defense on June 25 at the O2 Arena in London.
The news was confirmed on Twitter by Joshua’s promoter Matchroom Boxing.
Joshua (16-0, 16 knockouts) of Watford, England is riding high off his second-round knockout win over Charles Martin earlier this month to win the title, while Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) of Alhambra, California, has yet to compete in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
At the 2012 Games, Joshua, 26, took home the super heavyweight gold while Breazeale, 30, lost to his Russian opponent in the first round.
“I am looking to get passed [sic] Breazeale in style and continue moving towards the unification fight everybody is waiting for. I’m looking forward to being part of a stacked night of boxing and defending my title in style,” a statement on Matchroom’s website reads.
Breazeale answered questions about his heart – but raised new ones about his defense – when he got off the canvas to stop Amir Mansour in five rounds in his most recent bout this past January.
Breazeale, who is advised by Al Haymon, is rated number 13 by the IBF and issued a press release last week calling for the fight.
“This is an opportunity that every fighter dreams and hopes of. I’m sure Joshua felt the same way when he first found out he was going to fight Martin for the title. The only difference is that I am not going to lay down like Charles did and hand the belt over,” said Breazeale.
Joshua is currently rated No. 6 by THE RING at heavyweight.
The co-featured fight will pit domestic rivals George Groves and Martin Murray in a battle between multiple-time title challengers seeking another shot at the big time. The fight is being billed as a WBA super middleweight elimination bout.
Groves (23-3, 18 KOs) has won two straight since dropping a split decision to WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack last year, while Murray (32-3-1, 15 KOs) comes off a split-decision defeat to then-WBO super middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham in December.
“I’ve had some huge profile fights all over the world in Golovkin, Martinez and Abraham but never had the big one in the UK,” said Murray.
Groves, who is rated No. 5 by THE RING at 168 pounds, was respectful of his future foe. “Martin is the perfect fight for me at this stage,” stated the Londoner. “He’s a seasoned campaigner, who’s boxed at the highest level for quite some time. He is a world level opponent and I’ll have to be fully focused and prepared to beat him.”