Undefeated IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua has signed an exclusive long-term deal to fight on Showtime Championship Boxing.
The secretive announcement was revealed to media after an exclusive conference call to the U.S. media yesterday.
Joshua’s first challenger will be unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale. Both were on hand for an intense face-to-face meeting on Wednesday before a media contingent in London to formally announce their June 25th showdown.
Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) will make the first defense of the heavyweight title he recently wrested from “Prince” Charles Martin against Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs), a Los Angeles native, at The O2 arena in London. The heavyweight showdown is the first of a multi-fight licensing agreement for the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist from London.
“There are a lot of positive things happening in boxing and a lot amazing things happening in my career at the moment,” said Joshua. “But I know enough to realize that this is a dangerous sport and you are only as good as your last fight. I fought and lost in the amateurs, and I know how quickly this can all change. It's my job now to prepare myself properly and to keep this momentum rolling.”
When the previously undefeated Martin (23-1-1) lost his IBF Heavyweight World championship belt to Joshua in devastating fashion via 2nd round knockout, the world took notice of the Brit. He is making quiet a name for himself in the rejuvenated Heavyweight division.
“UK boxing is on fire right now,” said Showtime Sports Executive Vice-President & General Manager, Stephen Espinoza. “There are more UK champions than any other country right now and at SHOWTIME, we pride ourselves on bringing our viewers the best fights and the best boxers on the planet, whether they be American, British or from any other country. It is no surprise that our desire, our quest to seek out the most talented and most exciting boxers on the planet, has led us to Eddie’s doorstep and to this deal with Anthony Joshua.”
The deal can be assessed as an attempt to set up a unification bout against WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (36-0) as Dominic Breazeale and Wilder are both managed by boxing power broker, Al Haymon.
Breazeale, though, is also undefeated and cautions those who are looking past him.
“Charles Martin wasn't prepared,” said Breazeale. “He dropped the ball. He fought the wrong fight at the wrong time. He had just won the belt, was excited about that, and he took the wrong fight. I haven't made that mistake. I won't make that mistake.”
One thing is for certain that the Heavyweight division is back and in full swing as this announcement is sure to set up future pay-per-view options for a hype starved division.