Can ‘AJ’ deal with Trou­ble?

Fans are look­ing for­ward to what prom­ises to be one of the most en­thralling heavy­weight clashes of re­cent years Who will get the up­per hand?

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

Box­ing fans can ex­pect a riv­et­ing fight when English­man An­thony “AJ” Joshua de­fends his In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) heavy­weight ti­tle against Amer­i­can Do­minic “Trou­ble” Breazeale at the O2 Arena (Mil­len­nium Dome) in Green­wich, Lon­don, on Satur­day night.

The big men en­ter the slaugh­ter­house with almost sim­i­lar records and fight­ing styles.

Most global heavy­weight match-ups fea­ture com­bat­ants squar­ing up in ob­vi­ously dif­fer­ent as­pects. But these fight­ers are near­repli­cas of each other.

The 26-year-old Joshua comes into the fight with an un­blem­ished CV of 16 knock­outs in all his bouts, while his foe, Trou­ble, four years his se­nior, has chalked up 17 vic­to­ries, hav­ing sent 15 foes to the can­vas.

Both men pos­sess awe­some fire­power and are sure to be launch­ing big bombs at one an­other from the first gong.

The fact that they rely on the same stance – ortho­dox – to throw their dan­ger­ous rights, should en­sure that fans get their money’s worth.

But all eyes of the ex­pec­tant par­ti­san crowd will be fo­cused on AJ to see whether he can again bring the Arena down. Joshua de­stroyed Charles Martin in two rounds to win the ti­tle in April, and the 2012 Lon­don Olympic gold medal­list will now re­turn to the same venue as cham­pion.

AJ, born in Wat­ford, the son of Nige­rian mum Yeta and a Nige­rian-Ir­ish fa­ther, Robert, takes his IBF con­quest so se­ri­ously that he feels he will make a suc­cess­ful de­fence.

“My coaches have watched Breazeale for a long time and they knew he was go­ing to be a player in the divi­sion, and now we get the chance to go to war,” Joshua told MailOn­line this week.

He said the fight would be ex­plo­sive, as both of them would let their hands go and try to score knock­outs.

But Breazeale, who fights out of Al­ham­bra in California, is no slouch him­self.

He proved his worth in his last out­ing by stop­ping Amir Man­sour in the fifth round of their va­cant World Box­ing Coun­cil con­ti­nen­tal Amer­i­cas heavy­weight ti­tle at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les in Fe­bru­ary.

He is brim­ming with con­fi­dence about hav­ing the IBF belt strapped around his waist on Satur­day.

“There’s go­ing to be blood, man,” Trou­ble told skys­ this week.

“It’s two modern-day glad­i­a­tors go­ing toeto-toe fight­ing each other, beat­ing each other.

“There’s no time to be ner­vous and not know that you’re con­fi­dently the big­ger, bet­ter man.”

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