Dominic Breazeale’s confidence ‘sky high’ ahead of Joshua fight
The confidence of Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale couldn’t be higher in the weeks leading up to his first world-title shot. On June 25 in London, England, he will face the IBF heavyweight titleholder, Anthony Joshua, and hopes to ruin the big plans projected for Britain’s next big thing.
The fight will be shown live in the United States, in what will be a Showtime matinee broadcast on Saturday afternoon.
“I think, just in general, he’s one of those guys that’s kind of had a little bit of a stepping stone,” opined Breazeale during the scrum of questions at his media workout on Tuesday. He continued, “As far as fighting in the Olympics in his backyard, having the judges there in his backyard. I don’t know if you saw the fight, but when he fought in the final match for the gold medal against (Roberto) Cammarelle, I was sitting third row, and I hands down believe Cammarelle won.”
Not only does Breazeale think lightly of Joshua’s win in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Dominic also wasn’t impressed with Anthony’s most recent win over Charles Martin, when he won the IBF heavyweight title this past April.
“There’s not much you could take away from it other than he’s a big, demanding man, as most heavyweights are,” said Breazeale. “He’s got an OK jab, and everyone keeps saying he has devastating right-hand power. I mean, if I walked into a clean right hand from another heavyweight, I’m probably gonna go down as well, and that’s what Martin pretty much did. I haven’t seen any power that’s got me like, ‘I better watch out for this and that,’ so we’ll find out June 25th.”
As for Martin’s performance, Breazeale pointed the finger to why he couldn’t take much away from Joshua’s big win.
“If I can find ground zero somewhere down there somewhere,” Breazeale said looking down to the floor. “Martin’s performance was just terrible. I don’t know what kind of camp he had, what kind of development or progress he had going into that fight, but for you to come out and know that you’re a southpaw and you’re fighting an orthodox guy, I’m sure everyone standing in this room knows that the back hand is really the only thing you can be hit with when fighting an orthodox-southpaw situation. To get hit clean, flush with a shot, come up, and get hit with it again and smile at the referee as he counts you out to 10, it’s very disappointing. Me and Martin came up in the same amateur program, and I know for sure that he’s got a lot more boxing skill than he showed in that title defense. It’s very upsetting for sure.”
Breazeale later admitted to RingTV.com that he hasn’t spoken with Martin since that fight. Perhaps he feels like there is no advice to gain, since he is coming into this fight against Joshua on the heels of his biggest win.
“I believe so. It gives me something to work off of,” said Breazeale about the momentum he has accrued from his stoppage win over Amir Mansour this past January. “I know I’ve been down on the canvas. I know I was able to come back and be very successful from it, and anytime you get a win of that (sort) where you break him down to a point where he quits on the school, it’s a huge confidence booster. You understand as a professional boxer that you do have punching power – you just broke another guy’s jaw.”
The win was particularly impressive for Breazeale considering he came back from early adversity in the third round. The 30-year-old had never been on the canvas before, and was seemingly down on the cards before sealing Mansour’s fate with a right hand in the sixth.
“Damn, what am I doing down here?” was the first thought that entered his mind when asked about the knockdown he endured. “Honestly, that’s what it was, but at the same time, with that rolling through your head and moving on to the next step was gathering yourself, getting it together, and weathering the storm. That’s exactly what I did: came to a knee, found the referee, heard the count and gathered myself up. I think I did really well in a situation that you can never practice in the gym. It’s not like you come in the gym and tell guy, ‘Hey, knock me down, let me work on getting up.’ So, I was able to get that stage of my pro career pretty successfully.
“Am I glad it happened? No, of course not. I was hoping it would never happen, but yeah, it’s one of those situations that, now that it’s there in the book, I can always resort back to it for sure.”
Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs), who got a late start to boxing after a college career playing quarterback at the University of Northern Colorado, attributes his growth in the ring to experience alone. Not all of it happened under the lights of a public forum either, as Breazeale pointed out sparring with the likes of Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin.
“I forget what bout Povetkin was getting ready for, but he was getting ready for somebody about my size,” remembered Breazeale. “The international experience was great. I went over there early in my career — I think it was in my second or third professional bout. Completely different fighter than I am now, and I hands down had my way with Povetkin. Was I knocking him down to the canvas? Was I knocking him out? No, of course not, but my amateur pedigree and everything that I learned from then to the current date has blossomed more and more.”
Just a few weeks ago, Povetkin failed a random drug test before his fight with the WBC heavyweight titleholder, Deontay Wilder. The failed test inevitably nixed the fight just days before it was to take place in Russia. With that, and Joshua’s mystifying physique in mind, RingTV.com asked Breazeale about the drug testing for this fight.
“I haven’t had any random drug testing for this fight in particular yet,” said Breazeale. “I’m not in fear of it. Everything I do is natural. I do everything to the best of my ability, 100 percent all-natural human being. Anthony Joshua, on the other hand … I can’t speak for him. He’s a bit of a specimen; he’s pretty muscle-bound. Usually in boxing it works against you. You can’t really be the muscle-bound physical physique type of fighter and be a durational type of fighter. When I say that, carry it round after round, punch after punch, eventually those muscles are gonna need oxygen to pump them. I think it’s a downfall for him. It looks good but won’t play well in the ring.”
Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) presents a huge 6-foot-6 frame that isn’t comparable to any of Breazeale’s former opponents, and asked if that will present complications to him, Dominic replied, “I wouldn’t believe so. I’ve sparred some guys bigger than me. I’ve sparred some guys smaller than me. I’ve fought some guys that have all been smaller than me — I’ve been the tallest thus far. I don’t think a matter of inches is gonna make that big of a difference. The guys I’m using now to spar I think are 10 times better than Anthony Joshua himself. It’s not gonna be a difference of size or weight, but a difference of skill and strength.”
Breazeale lives in Upland, California, and for this fight is training at Crossroads Boxing Gym in nearby Ontario — where the media workout took place. It’s a more secluded environment when compared to “The Rock” in Carson, where his trainer, Manny Robles, trains the likes of fellow undefeated prospects Oscar Valdez, Jason Quigley and Slava Shabranskyy, to name a few. He worked with Breazeale as an amateur, with this being his second fight with him since then.
“He’s peaking at the right time — meaning for this fight — the way training is coming along,” said Robles. Contrary to Breazeale’s beliefs on Joshua, Robles proceeded to praise him when asked. “I think he’s a remarkable fighter. I have nothing but good things to say about Anthony Joshua. I believe he’s a great fighter. Great pro, great champion,” he said. As to what sparring partners Breazeale had in preparation for this fight, Robles also disclosed that they were Murat Gassiev, Gerald Washington and Dmitry Kudryashov.
“I want him to feel uncomfortable at all given times of the fight,” said Breazeale when asked about his game plan for Joshua. “Every second of every round. … At the same time, I’m not gonna let an opportunity pass me. If I see something I can take in the first or second round, I’m definitely gonna get him out of there.”
“Here comes Trouble” is the rallying cry for Breazeale, and it was that saying that graced the back of his t-shirt during a workout with Robles that went a total of 22 rounds. Come June 25, he will be in the lion’s den but Breazeale is embracing it as the underdog, admitting that he will have no music accompanying his ring walk so he can be inspired by the roar of boos.
“My mindset has definitely changed. This is the opportunity I’ve been working for the last eight years,” said Breazeale. “I dabbled around in boxing young as a 23-year-old, and here I am at 30, ready to turn 31, and it’s progressively getting better and better, day after day, camp after camp, fight after fight, and the situation that I’m in now, mentally I’m in a different stage compared to some of my fights in the past. Confidence level is through the roof and physically I feel great.”