By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Member Boxing Writers Association of America
British heavyweight and IBF champion Anthony Joshua may be the best heavyweight in the world and last weekend, he demolished Dominic Breazeale as he handed the American fighter his first loss. Breazeale is a big fighter with a tough chin but he couldn’t match Joshua’s skills or hand speed. Joshua, the former 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, showed his hand speed as he simply punched Breazeale at will. As one boxing writer noted, Breazeale “seemed to react seconds after the punch has already connect on his face” and while he was able absorbed much of Joshua’s punches; one doesn’t win fights by absorbing the other guy punches but you need to punch the other guy.
Breazeale never threatened Joshua throughout the bout before Joshua finally ended the bout with a knockout in the seventh round.
His mandatory challenger is another undefeated fighter, Joseph Parker but Joshua has plenty of options including the winner of Fury-Klitschko bout, Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. A bout with Parker will Joshua’s third straight bout with an undefeated fighter. The heavyweight division is now exciting again.
Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman had one of those exciting fights that proved to be the perfect advertising for boxing. Two young Welterweights pounded each other in a close bout that saw both fighters do what they do best. For Porter, it is swarm and tried to get on the chest of Thurman and throughout the bout, his pressure bothered Thurman. Thurman occasionally got the bout into the center of the ring and when he did, he landed solid clean shots.
Porter hard charging style bullied Thurman in the second and third round but Thurman wobbled Porter with a left hook after nailing Porter with combinations. In the middle of the fight, both men scored with back and forth action. Thurman countered with power shots while Porter did his best work when he trapped Thurman on the rope.
Both fighters combined averaged 100 punches per round in a fight that was closed and could easily been a draw. Porter threw 150 more punches but Thurman was the more accurate punches as he landed 44% of his punches versus only 36% for Porter. The judges gave the fight to Thurman 115-113 and Showtime’s Steve Farhood had the fight with the same scores. This could have gone the other way but I agreed with the judges and Steve Farhood on the score due to Thurman’s more accurate punches.
Both fighters agreed that a rematch is needed even though the winner is mandated to face former 140 pound champion Danny Garcia. This is one of the instances where bypassing the mandatory challenger, even one as good as Danny Garcia for a rematch.
This was an entertaining fight with both fighters style complimented each other with Thurman the boxer facing a swarming fighter in Shawn Porter.