By Miguel Assuncao
O2 Arena, London - IBF heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17KOs) retained his title for the first time with a seventh round knockout of previously undefeated Dominic Breazeale (17-1, 15KOs).
Breazeale looked very wide open as the fight was underway and the champion was warming up quickly and letting his hands go. Breazeale blocked most of the shots, but he was also having trouble with Joshua's speed. At the start of the second, Joshua started letting those hands go again and landed a few hard shots to shake Breazeale up. At the end of the second, a right hand rocked Breazeale. He was stumbling and firing back but survived.
Breazeale's right eye was very swollen coming into the third. Joshua's jab was keeping Breazeale at bay. Joshua dominated the fourth with his jab and power punches. Joshua continued to push forward in the fifth, pushing Breazeale back with hard shots. Finally in the seventh, a series of shots put Breazeale down against the ropes. Breazeale beat the count, but then Joshua jumped on him with hard shots and put him down hard and the referee quickly waved it off.
Both boxers were a part of 2012 Olympics. Joshua brought home the Olympic gold medal while Breazeale was eliminated in the first round. This was the first defense for Joshua after capturing the world title with a two round knockout of Charles Martin in April.
IN THE CO-FEATURE
In a very important crossroads super middleweight battle, George Groves (24-3, 18KOs) boxed and powered his way to a twelve round unanimous decision over Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16KOs). The fight was also a WBA final eliminator for a world title shot. The scores were 118-110 by all three judges.
Groves was very calm, just staying away and boxing from the distance with a good jab. During the fourth round, Murray began to turn up the heat with a barrage of punches when he pressed Murray against the ropes. Groves suffered a cut above his right eye and it wasn't clear if it came from a punch or a clash of heads. Groves went back to boxing in the fifth to regain control of the action.
The action got more active in the sixth, with Groves starting to land some very telling punches to the head and body of Murray. In the seventh, Groves started dominating Murray with big shots and had him in trouble. Groves continued to go after him in the eight, wobbling his legs with hard hooks to the head and body. Murray was not really throwing back and just taking punishment against the ropes. Near the end of the round Murray was trying to exchange and was rocked bad by a counter hook.
Groves went back on the attack at the start of the ninth. Murray stayed at a distance and was trying to get himself back in the fight, but was rocked once again very hard at the end, from a big right hand, and nearly went down. Between round Murray's trainer threatened to stop the fight if Murray continued to take more punishment.
Murray started the tenth going for broke, throwing punches with both hands and trying everything to change the tide. Murray was landing some good shots and Murray seemed very uncomfortable. Groves managed to regroup after Murray used up his energy, and started putting his punches together again. Groves controlled the action in the eleventh. During the twelfth, Groves rocked Murray again when they were close against the ropes. Murray was able to weather the storm until the final bell.
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