Tonight’s world title clashes start off with a towering heavyweight battle in England as IBF king Anthony Joshua meets the challenge of Dominic Breazeale at the O2 Arena in London.
At 6’6, Joshua will amazingly be looking up at the 6’7 tall Breazeale in this, British phenom Joshua’s first defense since ripping the IBF crown off the head of Charles Martin in April.
Joshua, 16-0 (16), has stopped every opponent he’s faced thus far but America’s Breazeale, 17-0 (15), has vowed to put an end to the Englishman’s run of what the challenger has termed “easy” fights.
Is Breazeale capable of backing up such an ambitious claim? The 30 year old Californian has bested respectable competition over in the states but will have to prove that he has a world class chin as the 26 year old Joshua has proved that he can punch with definite authority.
Flipping the coin to the other side, Brezaeale has a pretty impressive KO record as well and has also gone 10 rounds on one occasion and eight on another while Joshua has never been past seven.
But stamina will probably not be an issue as it’s likely this fight will be finished inside the distance, with the man who can take the bigger punch will be the victor.
The undercard in London features a few excellent matchups with a super middle scrap for the WBA International belt between George Groves, 23-3 (18), and Martin Murray, 33-3-1 (16).
Both fighters have failed on multiple occasions to win world titles, with Groves coming up short against Carl Froch (twice) and Badou Jack while Murray losing to Arthur Abraham at super middle and middleweights Gennady Golvkin and Sergio Martinez, while drawing with Felix Sturm.
Groves is the bigger, taller fighter with the better punch and skills so that should spell trouble for Murray, who generally wins his contests by being the stronger, tougher boxer.
Chris Eubank Jr, 22-1 (17), is on the bill as well, putting his British middleweight title on the line against challenger Tom Doran, 17-0 (17).
Doran has proved adept at domestic level, stopping his previous four opponents but Eubank is a world class talent who has only lost via narrow split decision to current WBO ruler Billy Joe Saunders in a 2014 bout for the European, British and Commonwealth belts.
For Doran to win, he’ll have to make Eubank fight on the inside in a rough and tumble affair and avoid a battle from the distance in the middle of the ring, where the Welshman would likely get picked apart by the accurate champion.
Across the Atlantic, WBA welter champion Keith Thurman, 26-0 (22), meets ex-IBF welter boss Shawn Porter, 26-1-1 (16), in a hotly anticipated struggle in the top division of the sport.
The shorter challenger excels at pressuring opponents but in his rush to get on the inside, will have to avoid the bombs of the heavy-handed Thurman, who will likely try to follow the Kell Brook plan of landing big right hands from a distance against Porter.
Porter’s strategy will probably focus on Thurman’s midsection as the Florida man has been hurt to the body on occasion in previous bouts.
This should be a very entertaining fight that will likely go the distance unless Thurman can land the perfect shot to get the iron-chinned Porter out of there.