Breazeale talks Ali, Joshua, UK head-to-head, heavyweight division

Showtime 09/06/2016

Scott Hirano

Undefeated World Ranked Heavyweight Contender and 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) participated in an open media workout at Crossroads Boxing Gym in Ontario, Calif., this week ahead of his world title challenge against IBF Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16KOs) on Saturday, June 25 on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® from The O2 in London, live on SHOWTIME.

Joining Breazeale at the media workout was his trainer Manny Robles.


On the passing of Muhammed Ali…

“Muhammed Ali was a huge inspiration. Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them.

“Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage. Everyone says he did everything wrong but everything right. It’s just phenomenal.

“One of the things I was able to take from watching him fight was his jab. Sometimes he’d beat guys hands down with just his jab.”

On what it means to get a shot at a title…

“I think Joshua’s thinking of me as a stepping stone and he’s going to be sorry about that. He’s just wrong. I mean, he’s fighting a guy at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds that brings the pressure and a great pace from round-to-round. I’m one of those guys that I might take a shot, I might work some defense, I might work a strong jab.

“Either way, I’m going to make it a fight. All of my opponents have been down on the canvas and I don’t think Joshua is going to come shy of that as well.

“I’m going in as the underdog, I’m going into an arena with 20,000 opposing fans. I’ve been picked as the smaller guy in the ring, by the IBF as a stepping stone and I feel like my back is against the wall. I’m going to come out fighting.”

On what it would mean to become champion…

“It’s everything wrapped into one. It’s definitely one of those stepping stones. I’m not just going to be settled winning the IBF title. Right now that’s the mission at-hand and the goal to accomplish, but to become champion is everything. All those hard days, those times you want to run get up early in the morning or run Mt. Baldy Saturday afternoon when everyone else is sleeping in. It’ll all pay off that night when my hand’s raised.”

On winning his fight over Amir Mansour after getting knocked down …

“It’s just another confidence booster. It’s one thing to finish a guy in the first round with three punches or something like that. It’s another thing to finish a guy in the sixth, seventh round with a combination of shots and finally you come out of an experienced fight with a guy like Amir Mansour where he puts you down on the canvas in the second and you’re thinking to yourself ‘damn what did I get myself in to?’ and you come back, battle back and you end up breaking the man’s jaw.

“”Whether people are going to say, ‘Amir was going to beat you, he was ahead on the cards,’ then again he’s got a broken jaw and he’ll probably never fight again. It’s one of those things. I can go to bed at night thinking to myself, you know what, that’s another mission accomplished, another stepping stone, let’s move on to the next one.

“It gives me something to work on. I know I’ve been down on the canvas, I know I was able to come back and be very successful from it. Anytime you get a win of that matter where you get a guy, break him down, break him down where he quits on the stool it’s a huge confidence booster. It makes you understand as an athlete or as a professional boxer that you’ve got punching power, you just broke another man’s jaw.”

On fighting in the UK…

“For me, I think my football background is going to come in hand when fighting on the road in London. Anytime you get on the football field and you play quarterback, let’s say you’re down by 20-30 points and all the fans are booing, throwing popcorn at you, there’s nothing that you can teach a man or an individual to gear up for a situation like that. But I’ve been there, done that. Fighting in front of 20,000 fans will be nothing new for me.”

On if he’d like to unify…

“Oh yeah, without a doubt. That’s the overall plan and goal. Everyone keeps telling me fight it round after round, match after match, and at this point I’m fighting it title after title. So I’m going to get this title and turn around in the next couple of weeks and announce hopefully another title defense and unify a couple different times. That would be great.”

On the difference in the current popularity of the heavyweight division from past years…

“I think the heavyweight division is getting ready to change. With individuals like myself, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, we have guys who are characters who bring a lot of charisma to the division. That’s something that we need. Yes, we are athletes but in the end we are entertainers and we want to see a show. I’m the type of guy that brings a show every single time I fight. It’s action-packed from the opening bell to the end, and fight fans are looking for that. And that’s what is going to resurrect the heavyweight division.”

What it means to go back and fight in the UK…

“It means a lot to get a chance to fight in the UK again. I get a chance to put closure on a door that’s still open. To go there and fight in the 2012 Olympics and come out with one loss; a lot of hard work was put into preparing for my amateur competition.

“Then again I do understand and believe I’m a completely different fighter — not only am I a professional but I no longer fight an amateur style. I would consider myself a knockout artist with some pretty good punching power and that’s what I plan on showing the UK fans and my U.S. following. It’s a chapter that needs to be closed and I plan on doing that.’’

On how much it means to him to fight for the title…

“I think it’s going to beautiful. It’s going to be great to go back to where my amateur career ended and beat the guy who won the gold medal. That’s going to be great. And then, on top of that, take away more hardware with the IBF heavyweight title. You couldn’t ask for anything better. That’s why I keep saying that it’s a blessing in disguise. It would be different if I was just fighting a typical heavyweight who just recently won the belt and is defending it but I’m fighting the heavyweight champ as well as a gold medalist.”

On fighting someone of Joshua’s size and if poses any complications…

“I’ve sparred guys that are bigger than me, I’ve sparred some guys smaller than me. I’ve fought some guys that have all been smaller than me. I’ve been the tallest thus far, but I don’t think the difference in a matter of inches is going to make that big of a difference. The guys I’m sparring with now are 10 times better than Anthony Joshua himself.

“I think that it’s going to be one of those situations that it is not going to be a difference of size or weight. It’s going to be the difference of skill and experience.”

On where he sees the heavyweight division going in the next three years…

“I believe that we’ve got a lot of heavyweights who are doing real well and are real successful in their situations, some being titleholders, some not. But I think it’s going to be a revolving circle. Me fighting Anthony Joshua, then going on to Deontay Wilder and Fury, Klitschko might even hang around for a while. Will it ever be compared to the Ali days or Riddick Bowe and the Holyfield days? I don’t know. Riddick Bowe and Holyfield had one great trilogy and I study it all the time. So it all depends on how much each fighter has left in him.”

On what it would mean to him to be a part of that next generation of greats…

“I’m already part of it. I’m already blossoming in to the situation. It’s a dream come true. It’s what you work your tail off for every day in the gym as well as on the road with strength and conditioning. It’s why you skip out on birthdays and holidays.”

On the altercation between him and Joshua at the London press conference…

“You know, Anthony Joshua came out there with the expectations of getting a little more of a warm or respectful welcoming. I was respectful; I stuck my hand out there and shook the man’s hand. They asked us to face off and we faced off and exchanged some words. I said my opinion and he didn’t like that, but that’s his problem. Like I told him, come fight night you can express yourself all you want. On June 25 bring your mouthpiece and gloves and it all happens in the square.”


“It’s been a great camp, we really started weeks before we got the call for the fight. Dominic took off about a month after the Mansour fight and then we got right back to work.

“He’s going to be much lighter for this fight than he was for Mansour, his conditioning is much better.”

“We leave on June 15 to get acclimated but he’ll be ready to go on June 25 and to be victorious.”

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Also follow Dominic Breazeale on Twitter @TroubleBoxing, Anthony Joshua @AnthonyfJoshua and use hashtag #JoshuaBreazeale to join the conversation.