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World Boxing Weekend Roundup: Joshua, Thurman Win

Capping off a massive fight card at London's O2 Arena on Saturday evening, heavyweight Anthony Joshua won his battle of the giants with Dominic Breazeale, retaining the IBF title for the first time.

From the start, Joshua reinforced his credentials as an undefeated world champion, using a blistering jab to attack and control Breazeale, who had no answers for the quickness of his adversary.

Breazeale was kept off balance by Joshua's efforts, which also included straight rights and left hooks, and had his own offense nullified by Joshua's adept footwork as the champion simply moved out of harm's way.

As the rounds wore on, Breazeale's swollen face became a roadmap of the punishment he was absorbing but the American challenger showed remarkable courage and toughness, never once backing off in his attempt to defeat Joshua.

This approach paid off on a few occasions where Breazeale was able to connect good punches but Joshua was never hurt and patiently kept up his own strategy.

By the middle rounds, Breazeale had taken many flush shots that no one else Joshua had fought, aside from Dilian Whyte, had been able to handle but like Whyte, the challenger finally crumpled to the floor in the seventh.

Breazeale managed to beat the count but was returned to the canvas and the bout called off with a minute remaining in the round.

Joshua keep his perfect record intact and now stands at 17-0 (17) while Breazeale, 17-1 (15), goes out on his shield, suffering his first loss.

After the contest, Joshua told the media that his next opponent could possibly be undefeated Joseph Parker of New Zealand, who must first turn back opponent Solomon Haumono next month.

There were two high profile contests on the support bill with a great domestic clash at super middle and one of the top up and coming middleweights on display.

Super middles George Groves, 24-3 (18), and Martin Murray, 33-4 (16), fought for Groves' WBA International crown and it was a good back and forth affair with Groves building up points early on through a higher workrate and accuracy.

Murray managed to cut the distance Groves wanted to maintain and battered the taller man on the ropes but this rally came in the later rounds and was not enough to offset Groves' early lead.

Both fighters were hurt at times and were exhausted by the end when scores were read awarding Groves the UD by a margin of 118-110 on all three cards.

With the win, Groves could be on the shortlist to challenge for the WBA belt later this year.

Rising middleweight Chris Eubank Jr, 23-1 (18), retained his British title with a good performance against the game but well overmatched Tom Doran, 17-1 (7), who was downed four times before the bout was halted at 2:35 of the fourth round.

Eubank is reportedly being considered as WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin's next challenger, a clash that will likely happen in the UK should the pairing receive the blessing of a top British TV company.

If this bout happens, it would represent a massive step up for Eubank, who should find out whether or not he is truly world class once the bell rings against middleweight terror Golovkin.

Also on Saturday, there was a long-awaited dustup at welterweight over in America as WBA champ Keith Thurman, 27-0 (22), had his hands full with the challenge of former IBF king Shawn Porter, 26-2-1 (16), at Barclays Center in New York.

Porter immediately went after Thurman with great gusto, forcing the champion back and producing a brawling, slugging affair reminiscent of Ricky Hatton's mauling of Kostya Tszyu in 2005.

After struggling with Porter's high speed attacks, Thurman found his bearings by the middle rounds and began to get space enough to punch, shaking the challenger with bracing left hooks and whiplash right hands.

Porter showed an iron chin and was never seriously hurt, regrouping to regain control by battering the champion's midsection and brawling along the ropes.

The bout was a brutal, back and forth thriller with both men having success and producing dramatic turns of events in a fight that was difficult to score.

When the smoke had cleared, Thurman was awarded a hard-fought 115-113 UD on all three scorecards.

Both fighters will probably see a career boost for their performances, resulting in another title shot for Porter while Thurman could have to face WBA Interim beltholder David Avanesyan.

There were two world title fights in China on Friday at Capital Gym in Beijing, with the favored boxers coming out on the losing end.

Highly touted southpaw Javier Fortuna, 29-1-1 (21), was on the way to successfully defending his WBA super feather belt against Jason Sosa, 19-1-4 (15), when he was hurt by a punch late in the contest and then finished off at 0:45 of the 11th frame.

As foreshadowing to this event, Sosa was coming off a draw in December against undefeated ex-WBA feather king Nicholas Walters, one of the most feared fighters in the lighter weight divisions.

Ironically, Sosa may have to face the top rated Walters in a first defense later this year.

On the undercard, 36 year old former Interim WBA bantam boss Nehomar Cermeno, 24-5-1 (14), finally won a full world title by dramatically stopping 25 year old local man Jun Qiu Xiao, 20-3 (9), who had won his previous 12 bouts.

Cermeno had controlled the bout from the start and bettered his work by punishing Xiao to the point of stoppage at 1:11 of the 12th and final round.

The Venezuelan wins the vacant WBA super bantam strap after previously losing two world title bouts in 2010 to Anselmo Moreno.

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