Joshua to defend IBF title against Breazeale

Anthony Joshua will make the first defence of his IBF world heavyweight title against undefeated American Dominic Breazeale at The O2 on June 25.

Joshua dismissed Charles Martin in two rounds at The O2 on April 9 to win the IBF belt with his 16th straight knockout victory since turning professional in the wake of Olympic glory at London 2012.

Breazeale has secured 15 of his 17 wins inside the distance but was knocked down by Amir Mansour in his last fight in January before climbing off the canvas to force a stoppage.

The 30-year-old said in a recent interview he was “extremely excited” by the prospect of facing Joshua and wanted to return to the UK to “finish what I didn’t in 2012”.

Breazeale, who previously played quarter-back for the University of Colorado, was the number one ranked amateur in the US ahead of the London Olympics but crashed out in the preliminary round after losing 19-8 to Russian Magomed Omarov.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to fight again, especially at The O2 which I have made my fortress,” said Joshua.

“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 to war on June 25.

“I am looking to get past Breazeale in style and continue moving towards the unification fight everybody is waiting for.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “June 25 is going to be a huge night from start to finish. It’s great that Britain’s newest superstar is staying active. Many would have still been celebrating but it’s back to business for AJ.

“The fight with Breazeale is going to be explosive – he is 6’7” and is one of the few whose KO ratio is up there with Anthony’s. He has come through the similar elite amateur set up and has worked his way into this shot and is ready to go.

“We are looking to put on one of our strongest cards yet at The O2, topped by the huge domestic clash between George Groves and Martin Murray which is set to be a wonderful clash. Watch this space for some more big fights added soon.”