Breazeale past distractions as he prepares for heavyweight title shot

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Watching Charles Martin win a heavyweight title and then receive $5 million to defend it against Anthony Joshua was tough for Dominic Breazeale to take.

Dominic Breazeale and Amir Mansour

Dominic Breazeale (right) struggled to beat Amir Mansour in January following his mother's death, but the 2012 U.S. Olympian says he is focused heading into Saturday's title bout against champion Anthony Joshua. (Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions)

After all, Breazeale was scheduled to face Martin in December, then had to sit idle after Martin withdrew just days before the bout so he could fight Vyacheslav Glazkov for a vacant world championship in January.

Martin claimed the title when Glazkov injured his right knee in the third round and was unable to continue, but his reign was short, as Joshua dethroned the American southpaw in April with a devastating second-round knockout.

“[For Martin] to win the title the way he did over Glazkov, and to celebrate like he won a hard-nosed fight, that annoyed me like crazy,” Breazeale said.

Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) now gets his shot at the same title Saturday when he takes on British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) at London’s O2 Arena (Showtime, 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT).

“Anthony Joshua knows he is now getting in there with a beast. I’ve shown in the past glimpses of greatness and solid defense,” said Breazeale, a 2012 U.S. Olympian. “Then there have been moments like, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ But my game will be tight, my defense will be spot-on and there will be no distractions for this fight.”

Breazeale, 30, has dealt with some personal issues since Martin withdrew from their scheduled fight. First his mother, Christina, died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 56 on New Year’s Eve. Afterwards, he unearthed some information about his father while sorting through his mother’s belongings.

“Losing my mom was huge,” Breazeale said. “It's always difficult losing a loved one, especially your mother. [Her death] gave me what I needed to vent and to relieve stress and to get focused.”

Following his mom's passing, Breazeale, a former starting quarterback at the University of Northern Colorado, learned that his father, Harold Lee Breazeale, was an amateur boxer. The elder Breazeale was incarcerated for much of Dominic’s childhood, and died six years ago.

“He was never a part of my life because he was in and out of prison all the time,” Breazeale said. “To come across boxing memorabilia of my biological father was huge, because people are always saying that heavyweight champions are born, not created. So here I am, born to do this and to carry the torch.”

Breazeale returned to the ring shortly after his mother’s death, but struggled to defeat rugged southpaw Amir Mansour in Los Angeles on January 23. Breazeale was knocked down in Round 3 and was losing on all three scorecards after five rounds, but won when Mansour quit on his stool after biting his tongue nearly in half earlier in the bout.

With five months to regroup since that fight, the 6-foot-7 Breazeale insists he's now mentally and physically prepared to take on the 6-foot-6 Joshua, who won Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games and has knocked out every opponent he's faced as a pro.

“We’re two knockout artists, so whoever lands first is going to win,” Breazeale said. “I’m not some pushover like he’s had in the past. If I see an opportunity, I am going to take advantage of it. If he exposes something or shows a weakness of some sort, I plan to take advantage of it.”

For a complete overview of Joshua vs Breazeale, visit our fight page.

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