Anthony Joshua’s rise up the heavyweight Boxing ranks hasn’t come without its critics and ever since his 2nd round knockout of Charles Martin to win the IBF Heavyweight title doubt over whether he was ready to hold a world title was rife. However the Olympic gold medallist went a long way to proving his doubters wrong with a 7th round stoppage of American Dominic Breazeale.
Breazeale proved to be Joshua’s toughest test to date and whilst AJ didn’t receive the shots he faced against Dilian Whyte he used his boxing abilities more so than against Whyte where personal animosity took over. Joshua was actually bloodied for the first time in the 5th round after catching a shot on the nose.
But Joshua’s combination of speed and strength was too much for Breazeale as the American’s right-eye became worse through the fight following a right hand in the 3rd. ‘Trouble’ attempted to combat AJ’s offense with a body counter every time but it was to no avail as he was knocked down twice in the 7th. First a straight right floored the American before Joshua let loose and a combination of punches put the challenger down for a second, and final, time.
Its looks as though Kiwi Joseph Parker will be next up for Joshua as Parker has earned worked his way to become the IBF mandatory challenger for AJ’s title. Parker currently holds a 19-0 record after his recent victory over Carlos Takam. However rumours of a unification fight with WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder won’t go away.
Joshua said on Wilder: “One day we’ll experience what each other are about.”
He added: “However for now I need to rest and recharge my batteries.”
Martin Murray vs George Groves
What many predicted to be the fight of the night lived up to expectations as Martin Murray and George Groves went head-to-head in a WBA Super-Middleweight title eliminator. It was Groves who came on top in this battle of the Brits and will now look to move on but both men were complimentary of one another in the aftermath.
Groves said: “Martin Murray is a class act and he should be a world champion.”
Murray said: “I got beat by the better man tonight and George Groves is an excellent fighter.”
With a match-up as even and important as this both Murray and Groves looked cautious in the early stages however Groves was making himself more active in the first three rounds. Murray did raise the tempo in the fourth and manage to split the side of Groves’ right eye however this didn’t slow down the WBA International super-middleweight champion.
Groves continued to control the fight and caught Murray with a right-hand on the counter towards the end of the 7th round but Murray was saved by the bell. The end of the round came just in time for Murray in the 9th also as Groves again forced Murray to stumble with a straight right which led to a stern talking to between Murray and his team where it seemed the possibility of throwing the towel in may have been discussed.
This fired up the Liverpool-born fighter who improved in the final three rounds but realised he had to win via a knockout which, despite his best efforts, he couldn’t get. Whilst the fight was close Groves always looked in control and Murray never looked as though he was going to come away with the victory.
Between them Groves and Murray have had seven world title opportunities with neither man coming away with the gold but now it looks as though it will be Groves who may get one last chance to become champion of the world.
Groves said: “It’s my first step up since my loss to Badou Jack and they’ll see a marked improvement from me tonight – Britain’s going to have another super-middleweight champion.”
Chris Eubank Jr vs Tom Doran
Rumours of Chris Eubank Jr facing unbeaten WBA, WBC and IBF world champion Gennady Golovkin have picked up pace in the last fortnight and both the Eubank camp and
promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that this fight could confirmed soon.
Hearn said: “Golovkin is ready to accept and Eubank Jr versus Golovkin could be made this week.”
However before looking ahead and preparing for a mega-fight with the man from Kazakhstan Eubank Jr had to get past Middleweight prizefighter winner Tom Doran.
Eubank Jr looked to be in his comfort zone and never looked in any real danger keeping Doran away with a solid left jab. Midway through the 3rd round the British middleweight champion seized his opportunity and unleashed a whirlwind of combinations on Doran which included some mean body shots along with two nasty uppercuts. Doran took the punishment but would only last one more round before Eubank Jr finished the fight off in style.
Eubank Jr immediately called out the middleweight champions following his victory.
“It’s all about making statements I feel like I’m at world level now and should be challenging for world titles. Gennady Golovkin I’m coming for you and your belts and if it’s not you then Saunders you’re getting it anyone with a belt I want.”
The rest of the undercard featured British heavyweight Dilian Whyte, former-Team GB duo Anthony Ogogo and Felix Cash as well as young sensation Conor Benn.
Whyte was featuring in his first fight since his loss to Anthony Joshua back in December. Since Whyte has had shoulder surgery and has brought in a new training duo of
Whyte said: “My fitness felt good it was all about my confidence throwing that shoulder again in the ring it felt good physically but a lot of it is mental.”
Whyte went on to admit he wanted the spectacular knockout and possibly looked for it too much throughout before making it clear he wanted Dave Allen in his next fight.
Conor Benn extended his unbeaten record to 3-0 with a nasty knockout versus Lukas Radic. Benn had come under criticism following his last fight which saw him go the distance (4 rounds) but a convincing performance versus Radic as well as dealing with Chris Eubank Sr in a pre-fight press conference may have helped Nigel Benn’s son begin showing signs of maturity.
Benn said: “I’m still learning to box and I’m taking my time and let’s see what machine I can turn into by the end of the year.”
Trainer Tony Sim added: “[Conor] is still a novice in his last fight he was too erratic and went out swinging but tonight he was nice and calm and boxed.”
Ogogo won with a 1st round stoppage against Frane Radnic while Cash’s professional debut went the distance versus Yailton Neves with Cash getting off to a winning start.
Performance of the Night – Anthony Joshua/Chris Eubank Jr.
Fight of the Night – Martin Murray vs George Groves.
Knockout of the Night – Conor Benn.