Joshua eyes unified heavyweight title

Anthony Joshua plans to use the first defense of his IBF heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale on Saturday as a stepping stone to becoming the undisputed champion of the world.

The unbeaten 26-year-old takes on the American challenger at The O2 in London and insists defending the belt doesn’t add any extra pressure to the contest.

“I’m looking at winning this fight in good style so I can unify titles some time way down the line,” he said.

“There is still hard work in a weird way because, even if it is not physically draining, it is mentally because my coach expects a lot from me.

“He wants me to step up the levels, he wants me to be sharp, so even though it is not physically draining, there is still a lot of mental preparation to do as well.

“It is what it is, it is just a fight. It’s the same ring, referee and I’ve just got a different opponent in the corner and it was the same situation when I didn’t have the IBF belt so that is what I’m saying about mental preparation – I’ve just got to chill out.”

Joshua, who claimed the belt from Charles Martin back in April, weighed in at 109.8Kg, while Breazeale tipped the scales at 115.2Kg.

The British boxer has knocked out all 16 of his professional opponents, with compatriot Dillian Whyte the only man to take him past three rounds.

Tyson Fury, who withdrew from his heavyweight title rematch against Wladimir Klitschko yesterday, predicted a quick Joshua victory.

“Breazeale is unbeaten, he’s tall and heavy but that’s as far as it goes,” he said.

“He’s no more talented than Mariusz Wach and the rest of them that come over here and he’ll get busted up.

“This one might be a big old boy but if you want a chance of beating Joshua, you have to be able to box and I am not sure he can.

“Joshua is inexperienced but don’t forget he’s an Olympic gold medalist, so he wins this. There’s only one thing I am expecting and that’s another Joshua knockout.”

The Joshua bout is the headline event on what promises to be a big night for British boxing.

George Groves and Martin Murray face each other in an eliminator for the WBA world super middleweight title, while Chris Eubank Jr defends his British middleweight title against Wales’ Tom Doran.

John Wayne Hibbert meets Andrea Scarpa for the vacant WBC Silver super lightweight title and Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo is also in action.