Anthony Joshua successfully overcame the challenge of Dominic Breazeale to defend his IBF heavyweight title. The 26-year-old secured the victory in the seventh round by knocking out the American, extending his winning record in the ring to 17 bouts.
Joshua now faces the task of defending his crown against New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, in a mandated fight after the 24-year-old secured the challenger’s position.The Brit will now watch Parker’s next bout with interest as he faces off with Solomon Haumono, in a bid to maintain his unbeaten record.
Parker is backed at 1/100 to clinch the 20th victory of his career by Betway to defeat the 40-year-old in Canterbury but due to the New Zealander’s record, Joshua will have to be on top of his game to continue the dominance that he has enjoyed in his career to date.The 26-year-old endured one of the toughest fights against Breazeale, who entered the bout at the 02 Arena with an unbeaten record.
Breazeale boasted advantages in height and weight over the Brit, but Joshua came out firing with a left hook in the first round to put the American on the back foot. Joshua upped the ante in the second round, with Breazeale just surviving a volley of right hands to reach the bell. However, he rallied to cause the champion a few problems in the third to give himself a glimmer of hope.
However, the Brit raised the level of his game over the next few rounds to leave the American unsteady on his feet before a final flurry of punches, including a firm right forced the referee to end the contest.
The fight was the second longest of Joshua’s career, behind his victory against compatriot Dillian Whyte last year; a bout that lasted for a further 26 seconds.
Joshua is the class of the division, and although Parker has a fine record in his career, he has not faced anyone of the quality of the Brit, making another victory likely for the Watford-born fighter. The 26-year-old could even be in action before facing Parker against Kubrat Pulev following his victory over Dereck Chisora. The Bulgarian has pedigree at the highest level having fought Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, although he only lasted five rounds before he was knocked out.
In spite of his defeat it was the 35-year-old’s only loss in 21 bouts – at that time. A potential fight against Pulev could be just the experience that Joshua needs before he possibly challenges Klitschko or Tyson Fury in the future.
Joshua has plenty of time on his side at the age of 26, but should he wish to pit himself against one of the best fighters in the sport such as Klitschko, he may have to do so sooner rather than later due to the Ukrainian’s advancing years. Fury and Klitschko were meant to fight in July at the Manchester Arena, only for the Brit to pull out of the match due to an ankle injury in training.
That issue for Fury will push back any bout with Joshua, especially considering that he said he would retire after their rematch.
The pinnacle bout of British boxing would see Joshua and Fury face off in a classic match next year, with IBF, WBA, WBO, and The Ring titles on the line. It would bring out the best in both men, with Joshua’s speed and power battling against the brute force and firm defence of Fury.
However, both men have a long way to go before a potential Battle of Britain clash, although Joshua’s star continues to rise and it seems that their contest will be when rather than if.