Big-fight betting tips: Another knockout for Joshua as Groves and Eubank Jr score wins
A comprehensive preview of the action at the O2 as the IBF world heavyweight champion makes his first title defence after some exciting undercard bouts
Anthony Joshua v Dominic Breazeale
Joshua makes his first world title defence against Breazeale, a former Olympian currently ranked ninth in the division by the IBF.
The Englishman is one of the most exciting prospects in boxing, although he is yet to be truly tested at the highest level.
He won the IBF world title against Charles Martin – one of the worst fighters ever to hold the belt – and has only been taken past the third round once in his career to date.
On paper, Breazeale is a worthy challenger.
With a record of 17-0, he is Joshua’s fourth consecutive undefeated opponent.
But like Gary Cornish, Dillian Whyte and Martin before him, Breazeale is simply not good enough to trouble the Watford-born champion.
In the American’s last fight he was knocked down by 42-year-old Amir Mansour.
Breazeale lost all five rounds of that bout before Mansour bizarrely bit his own tongue and was forced to quit on his stool, handing the 30-year-old a technical decision victory.
Before that, Breazeale picked up a controversial win in a close fight against Cameroonian journeyman Fred Kassi, aided by some questionable scoring from the judges.
Breazeale has never faced an opponent of Joshua’s calibre. In fact, he has no impressive names on his resume to date.
Given that Mansour – who stands at just over six feet – was able to put him on the canvas, he will have no answer to Joshua’s knock-out power.
Anything other than a one or two-round blitz from the Englishman would be a real shock.
George Groves v Martin Murray
A meeting of two super-middleweights with seven failed world title challenges between them, this should easily be the fight of the night.
Both Groves and Murray are looking for a final shot at glory, and the former has suggested that whoever loses on Saturday night should hang up the gloves for good.
They match up well, with three defeats each on their record, all in world title fights.
Groves has fallen out of the limelight since he suffered back-to-back defeats to Carl Froch, the second by a devastating eighth-round knockout.
But he beat James DeGale earlier in his career and dominated Froch before a questionable stoppage in the first of their meetings.
Murray also showed strength in taking Gennady Golovkin to the 11th round before he was stopped, and he also fell just short in a split-decision loss to Arthur Abraham in November.
Neither of these fighters is blessed with devastating knockout power, meaning this bout should go the distance.
And while Murray is more experienced, Groves is the classier fighter and will earn an important win behind his strong jab and superior skills.
Chris Eubank Jr v Tom Doran
Chris Eubank Jr should earn a comfortable win over Tom Doran, providing his focus is on this fight and not a future meeting with knockout artist Gennady Golovkin.
Doran is undefeated and has plenty of heart, getting up off the canvas to beat Luke Keeler inside two rounds in a hugely entertaining fight in April.
But his 17-0 record is inflated by three victories in Sky Sports’ Prizefighter tournament and this will be his first 12-round fight as a professional.
Eubank Jr’s last two opponents – Spike O’Sullivan and Nick Blackwell – are more accomplished fighters than Doran and he came through those challenges unscathed.
Talent is no issue for the Hove-born middleweight, but he must focus on what happens inside the ring on Saturday night.
A mega-fight with undefeated world champion Golovkin has been lined up, and the pre-fight press conference was dominated by talk about the Kazakhstani.
That bout will happen, as long as the British champion ignores the distractions and sees off Doran as expected.
Eubank Jr occasionally overpowers his opponents early on, but five of his last eight fights have gone at least six rounds.
A stoppage in the middle rounds looks likely here.
Dillian Whyte v Ivica Bacurin
In his first fight since his defeat to Joshua in December, Whyte has been handed a straightforward match-up.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has been talking up Bacurin’s ability in the build-up, and the Croatian did go 10 rounds with Tony Bellew a year ago.
But he is over-matched, with nine defeats on his record, and has been chosen to help Whyte shake off some ring rust.
Whyte has now recovered from shoulder surgery and still has big plans of a rematch with Joshua when his condition improves.
He should take the first step towards that goal with an impressive victory here.