Undefeated IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) will make the first defense of his title against fellow unbeaten Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) of Upland, Calif., this Saturday, June 25 on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® from The O2 in London, live on SHOWTIME® on at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT.
Just a few hours later in Primetime on CBS (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), Keith “One Time” Thurman will defend his WBA Welterweight World Title against former champShawn “Showtime” Porter in a welterweight blockbuster that headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Both Joshua and Breazeale participated in an international media conference call on Monday. Also taking part were Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports; Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport and Brittany Goossen of TGB Promotions introducing Breazeale.
Below are highlights of what the principals had to say on the conference call. A full transcript will be available in the coming days.
Thoughts on his preparation for the fight:
“I feel great condition wise, and mentally I’m in a good place. I’ve never felt so relaxed because I just know I’m capable of doing it. I’ve trained weeks and years and it’s just about getting it right on the night of the fight. My tactics and my mind have not let me down so far, so that’s why I don’t want to change anything.
“I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I’m going to attack the fight the same way I have my last 16 and put on an explosive show. That’s what the Americans love. They like knockouts and I won’t let them down.
“Every fight can be my last fight. As much as I would like to tell you I’m confident and ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that’ I do understand I have to approach this as if it could be my last fight.
“I know he can hang around, he doesn’t go down easy. He’s a big guy, he can eat shots. The Dominic Breazeale I’m used to watching on YouTube and I’m reading about is the enhanced Dominic Breazeale – the Dominic Breazeale that is 50 percent better because I think he knows he wants to come prove himself on a global stage. And this is his chance come Saturday, so I need to prepare for the best of Breazeale.”
On going from being the hunter as a challenger to being the hunted as a champion:
“I’m not the cream of the crop in the gym. I’m around guys that are achieving things on the same level so I’m still hunting. I still have that mentality as if I’m a main killer in the jungle. I haven’t lost that hunger.
On potential to fight in the US in the future:
“I just keep on hearing the United States is where it’s happening. And if I come to the U.S., I’m going to shut it down.”
Thoughts on Breazeale’s performance against Amir Mansour:
“He’s a tough guy. He managed to go out there and break Mansour’s jaw and capture a win, which has led him into where he is now. Whichever angels were floating in the ring with him that day have led him to this point, so I’ve got to put an end to his dream.”
On winning a piece of the heavyweight championship in just his 16th pro fight:
“It didn’t mean much. I still have another couple titles I need to get my hands on. I’m still hunting. There’s still work to be done. So it only ticked one of the boxes on my to-do list.”
“I’m out here very excited. I can’t wait to get in the ring June 25 and shock the world, that’s for sure. I’ve been lucky enough to prepare for the biggest fight of my life and I’m really super excited about it.”
On why he thinks he was selected for this matchup:
“Honestly, the way I see it is that someone didn’t do their research. They didn’t look deep enough. They didn’t find out enough about me and maybe they’re looking at me as just another football player that transitioned into boxing. And I’m hoping they’re overlooking me. It definitely can be a situation where they’re just watching one fight, especially my last fight. But there’s been a lot of tough ones. If they’re looking at that one situation, I’m glad because that’s to my liking.”
On his feelings about fighting overseas:
“The way I’m thinking about it is, June 25, I gain 20,000 fans. I’m in a situation where I’m very confident going into this fight and I know for sure I’m going to put on a great show, come out victorious and go back to the U.S. with 20,000 UK fans.
“I definitely believe [Joshua] realizes; he understands that he’s got a big test in front of him. He’s got a big fighter in front of him. He’s got a guy that’s going to break him down, test his will and see if he is a true champion.
“I am coming into this fight very confident and I’ve got some things that I know are going to work for me, as well as some things that I plan on exploiting out of Joshua.
“I’m blessed to have been picked for this fight and am thankful for this opportunity. The way I look at it, and the way I look at every fight that I go into, is that as long as I do everything that I need to do in the gym as far as sparring, preparation and training, running my miles, sleeping right and eating right – I’ve crossed all of my T’s and dotted all of my I’s. I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve got nothing to second-guess. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to and I just can’t wait to shine.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“Anthony quickly went from a diamond in the rough to really one of the foremost stars in the UK and Europe, and we are happy to be his partner as he establishes his presence in North America.
“We are particularly excited about this bout because we have, pardon the phraseology, two behemoths. There are two skilled boxers, really the epitome of what heavyweight boxing should be – big, strong athletes skilled in their sport, with amateur pedigree, meeting on the afternoon here in the US, evening in the UK to determine who is the best fighter.”
EDDIE HEARN, President, Matchroom Sport
“Over here, the feeling is that it’s going to be quite a routine defense, but Anthony hasn’t trained like that. He is not expecting that. He knows the background and roots of Dominic Breazeale. He knows his skill, and he knows how dangerous he can be and he knows how hungry he is as well. I think you’re going to get a different kind of fight than the Charles Martin fight. I think you’re going to get a guy that’s not afraid to let his hands go. He’s not going to wait and the sold out O2 Arena is going to be an electric place to be.”
“SHOWTIME is a deal we are very excited about. To link up with an American broadcaster for us was an obvious move, but it was a move we had to choose carefully. And I think we chose very, very well in SHOWTIME.”
BRITTANY GOOSSEN, TGB Promotions
“Over here in the U.S. we have gotten to see Dominic grow before our eyes. We know he is definitely capable of challenging for the world title. On Saturday we expect him to be victorious and bring that back to America.”