While differing in opinion on who will prevail Saturday in their heavyweight title showdown in London, both British champion Anthony Joshua and American challenger Dominic Breazeale agree on one thing: Someone is getting knocked out.
The fighters bring staggering KO stats into the matchup of undefeated 2012 Olympians (Showtime, 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT), with Joshua a perfect 16-for-16 entering the first defense of his world title, while Breazeale has gained stoppages in 15 of his 17 wins.
After earning the championship in London with a second-round KO of Charles Martin in April, Anthony Joshua returns to the O2 Arena as a heavy favorite to retain his crown. Dominic "Trouble" Breazeale, however, said he’s embracing the challenge of dethroning the 26-year-old British star on his home turf before a capacity crowd of 20,000.
“I'm going to shock the world—‘Trouble’ is coming,” Breazeale said. “I have no backup plan, because I am going to KO Joshua to become world champion. He's chosen the wrong man. He's going to be thinking ‘Why is he hitting me so hard? Are there two or three of him?’
“He can land those shots on me 10 times, and I am not going down. You are in the ring with a beast. It might be your lion's den, but there's a new lion just waiting to feed on you.”
After winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, the 6-foot-6 Joshua became the fifth-fastest boxer to win a heavyweight world championship with his quick dismantling of Martin, doing so two-and-a-half years after his pro debut. In the process, he became a superstar in his homeland.
“People pay to see blood, they pay to see war and that's why people are supporting my journey, because I deliver every time I step in the ring,” Joshua said. “I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Breazeale is going down, and it won’t last long. I’m going to destroy him.
“If he backs up his talk, he'll [last] past the first round, but the second round—that's the danger round for him. I'll handle my business, and he'll go the same way as everyone else has since I turned pro.”
Breazeale, 30, has had a rapid rise of his own as a boxer. The 6-foot-7 slugger grew up a football star and started at quarterback for the University of Northern Colorado in 2006 and 2007.
He took up boxing at age 23 after being noticed by a talent scout, quickly developed into a top-ranked amateur, then won the U.S. National Championship and qualified for the Olympics in 2012 before making his pro debut later that year.
“Joshua has flaws—big ones—and I’m going to exploit them,” said Breazeale, who didn't face Joshua at the London Games. “I’m going to show that all the hype around Joshua is just that—hype. He is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is. I’m going to explode the myth of Anthony Joshua. His world is going to come crashing down.”
In his last fight in January, Breazeale was knocked down in Round 3 by veteran southpaw Amir Mansour and was behind on all three judges’ scorecards after five rounds, but he won by technical decision when Mansour quit on his stool after severely biting his tongue earlier in the bout.
Breazeale has disparaged Joshua at every opportunity leading up to their title showdown, but the champ said he would leave no doubt who is the superior fighter.
“You are already in a deep hole; don't make it deeper,” Joshua said of Breazeale’s trash talk. “We're competitors and you say you’re going to smack me all around that ring, but your mindset is wrong. It's not that simple. You are not dealing with an idiot. I am serious about boxing. I want to be a success, and you are not going to stop me—not by any remote chance in a million.
“When you are flat on your back in the ring, looking up at the ceiling, you will realize there is a new king of the heavyweights—me.”
Breazeale contends, however, that Joshua was the beneficiary of friendly judging when he won gold in London, and that he showed flaws in his December win over Dillian White, who landed some big shots early before Joshua took him out in Round 7.
“Dillian Whyte hurt him, he had him out on his feet, but he couldn't close the door on him,” Breazeale said. “Whyte isn’t half the fighter I am, so why should I worry?
“I saw a ton of mistakes in that fight, and I'll take advantage of them when we meet. I'll put him down on the canvas and when I do that, I want him to get up and let me do it again.”
For a complete overview of Joshua vs Breazeale, visit our fight page.