SAN DIEGO, June 24, 2016 – The two British heavyweight boxers on top of the division hit boxing headlines for different reasons Friday.
Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) weighed in for his upcoming bout against Californian Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) Saturday at the O2 Arena in London. Showtime Sports recently signed Joshua to a multi-bout deal. This fight marks the 2012 Olympic gold medalist’s second fight on American television. The bout will be aired live on Showtime at 5:15 pm ET/2:15 pm PT.
Joshua’s IBF title is on the line in this bout, but there is little risk of him losing it. Since turning professional four years ago, Joshua’s star has been on the rise. Joshua has never gone the distance as a professional, and only one of his 16 fights lasted past the third round, his December 2015 bout against well regarded prospect and fellow Brit Dillian Whyte.
Joshua earned the IBF title with a crushing knockout victory over American Charles Martin (23-1-1, 21 KOs), winning Martin’s IBF heavyweight title which he acquired after a knee injury to opponent Vyacheslav Glazkov.
We advise you to set your DVR now, even if you plan to be in your seat in a timely manner to see what the buzz on Joshua is all about. No one believes Dominic Breazeale will last more than three rounds with Joshua. Breazeale’s undefeated record comes against limited opposition. His last opponent, Amir Mansour, put Breazeale down in the third round and had the upper hand until he was injured and could not come out for the sixth round. Breazeale will be able to look Joshua in the eye as both stand 6-foot-7 tall. But Breazeale is far less mobile on his feet and doesn’t possess the hand speed of Joshua.
Nevertheless, as fans saw with Joe Smith Jr.’s unexpected first round knockout last weekend over Andrzej Fonfara, anything can happen in boxing.
The British fight card in London is exceptional top to bottom. Assuming the Joshua vs. Breazeale fight ends quickly, Americans are likely to see a super middleweight showdown between British boxers George Groves (23-3-0, 18 KOs) and Martin Murray. Groves is on a two-fight win streak after his September 2015 loss to Badou Jack in Las Vegas. He would like to get back in the super middleweight sweepstakes with a solid win over Murray.
Since moving up to middleweight after losing an 11th round TKO to middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin, Murray suffered a split decision loss in November 2015 to Arthur Abraham in Germany, a fight Murray and many observers felt he won. Murray lost a decision to middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on Martinez’ home turn in Argentina it also seemed he had won. After losing to Abraham, Murray said he’d never fight abroad again. Murray had to weigh in twice before making the 168 pound limit.
While fans wait for Joshua to put on a show Saturday, the showdown July 9 in Manchester, England between the reigning unified British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and the man he dethroned, Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine, has been postponed due to an injury suffered by Fury while training.
Fury announced the news in typical Fury fashion Friday, via an video posted to his Instagram page.
“Hey guys, I got a little bit of bad news for you all. About ten days ago, I was running up in the Lake District and I went over on me ankle, sprained me ankle. I’ve been to hospital, had X-rays MRI Scans and all that stuff. It’s not broken, but it’s badly sprained. Keep off it for six, seven weeks.
“I tried to still train a bit, got a second opinion a week later and got the same advice. So the fight will be postponed. Sorry to all my fans to let yous all down. Injuries do happen, as well as other things. My apologies to everybody… The fight will be on as soon as possible. That’s all I know at this moment. But the fight’s going ahead, we will reschedule as soon as the ankle gets better. Thank you all and God bless.”
Klitschko posted an Instagram video of his own in response.
“Dear boxing fans, I was just informed that Fury got injured, that means our July 9th fight is postponed until the time we’ll all know when it’s going to be happening. Until then, I wish you, as I’ve learn in the past, to be patient. This fight will happen. This revenge will happen. And Fury, I wish his recovery so we can fight sooner than later.”
Fury and his trainer, his uncle Peter Fury, both posted photos online of the heavily bruised ankle. Nevertheless, critics suspect the injury was merely an excuse to buy Fury more time to train. ESPN quotes sources saying Fury was not prepared to fight Klitschko.
Whatever Fury himself says, at times it is so bizarre it’s hard to know whether he’s flat out crazy or playing mind games with his opponent and the public. So gauging the truth from his words alone or even from photos is impossible to truly discern.
What is undeniably true: Fury has been seen partying and drinking in public in recent weeks. At a pre-fight news conference on April 27, Fury pulled off his shirt revealing his lack of conditioning. At the time Fury spoke at length about how much he hates training and hates boxing, but said he’s “just too good at it and I’m making too much money … I don’t take boxing seriously, as you can tell. It’s about getting a few quid and putting food on the table.” See highlights of that April 27 news conference here.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) stunned the boxing world in November by defeating the longtime champion Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) on his home turf in Germany, winning a unanimous decision. It was the 2015 Upset of the Year. Fans have been eager to learn whether it was merely a fluke. They’ll have to wait a bit longer.
Whether the delay comes from Fury’s need to buy a little more time to train or not, the fight is off either way. Promoters hope Fury will be ready by a new working date of October 29, if not the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Joshua will put on a show and win more boxing fans over across the pond on Saturday.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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