Joshua batters Breazeale to retain IBF title
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) knocked out previously unbeaten Dominic Breazeale (17-1, 15 KOs) to retain his title on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London.
In his first world title defence, Joshua finished Breazeale with two knockdowns from big blows in the seventh round.
Joshua was landing several combinations from the start and staggered Breazeale in the second round with more hard shots.
Breazeale survived but in the third his right eye was almost swollen shut as he bravely battled on to become only the second professional opponent to take Joshua past three rounds.
Joshua rocked Breazeale with a right hand in the sixth and the American gamely returned fire and bloodied the Briton's nose.
But a series of solid puches sent the challenger to the canvas twice in the seventh to end the fight. Breazeale got up on unsteady legs after the first knockdown and an explosive left hand dropped him again before the fight was waved off at 1:01 of the round.
Joshua won the title with a second round knockout of American Charles Martin in April. His mandatory challenger is New Zealand's Joseph Parker, who has stopped 16 out of 19 opponents.
If he gets past Parker, fights against the two other world heavyweight champions could follow.
Joshua's fellow Briton Tyson Fury defends his WBA and WBO belts against former champion Wladimir Klitschko, likely in October now after the fight was postponed from July 9 due to Fury spraining an ankle. WBC champion Deontay Wilder faces fellow American Chris Arreola on July 16.
Also on the card, George Groves (24-3, 18 KOs) scored a hard fought, 12 round unanimous decision over fellow Briton Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) in a WBA super middleweight eliminator.
Groves landed the more regular and telling blows and was awarded scores of 118-110 by all three judges.
Chris Eubank Jr (23-1, 18 KOs) halted previously unbeaten Tom Doran (17-1, 7 KOs) in four rounds to retain his British middleweight title.
Eubank dominated the action throughout. He dropped Doran in the third round and four times in the fourth before the one-sided bout was stopped at 2:35 of the round.