Joshua to face Breazeale in first title defence


Anthony Joshua will fight unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale in his first defence of the IBF heavyweight title on June 25.

Joshua became world champion with a brutal second-round knockout of Charles Martin at London's O2 Arena this month and will return to the same arena to face Breazeale.

Breazeale has won all 17 of his professional fights, 15 inside the distance, and represented his country at the 2012 London Olympic Games, where Joshua won a gold medal.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to fight again, especially at the O2 which I have made my fortress," Joshua said via a news release.

"My coaches have watched Breazeale for a long time and they knew he was going to be a player in the division and now we get the chance to go war on June 25.

"It's sure to be explosive, both of us like to let our hands go and score knockouts, we are both undefeated and both have Olympic pedigree.

"I am looking to get past Breazeale in style and continue moving towards the unification fight everybody is waiting for. I'm looking forward to being part of a stacked night of boxing and defending my title in style."

Joshua is sure to be the overwhelming favourite for the bout, with his win over Martin making it 16 knockouts in an as many fights.

The explosive 26-year-old is being tipped for a showdown with domestic rival Tyson Fury, with the duo exchanging barbs on Twitter to add fuel to a budding rivalry.

Originally, Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn suggested he could fight on July 9, the same night WBA Super and WBO champion Fury is set to face Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch from last November's upset victory, but those plans were shelved.

The choice of Brezeale for Joshua's first title defence is perhaps little surprise with the Briton's camp keen to build on growing interest in America.

On the undercard, George Groves goes head-to-head with Martin Murray in a title eliminator for the WBA super-middleweight crown.