A crowd flocked to Covent Garden in central London to see the IBF heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua weigh in for his first world title defence. Unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale came in at a healthy 255lbs. Joshua weighed 243 1/4lbs.
The two came face to face for the final time before they fight Saturday at the O2 in Greenwich. Joshua is often a stern, solemn presence at such things but today he spoke quietly to Breazeale and gestured to the massed crowd, perhaps encouraging the challenger to take it all in. Forgotten was the testy exchange when they first met. Earlier this week, Anthony said, “I think with the Breazeale thing the first time, I was actually just tired, training, travelled down, didn’t eat, got in, shook his hand, took the pictures and we done a face-off. I was a bit wound up at the whole situation.”
Rather than the ‘elbow jostling’, Joshua’s familiar calm had returned. The weigh-in also confirmed Joshua is in the kind of condition now expected of him, in contrast to the slightly fleshy American. “You’ve got to be confident but it’s the fear of losing, it’s that fear of losing. If I thought I was going to beat Dominic Breazeale that easy I wouldn’t train the way I do. So I train that way because of the fear of losing. But I need to get that confidence to think even if I didn’t train I’d still beat anyone in the world,” he continued. “Once you get the full package I think you’re unstoppable, no matter what happens you’re just built for this. You condition yourself, you harden yourself to become the best person [you can].”
The popularity of the IBF champion was evident a today’s event. A huge cheer greeted his arrival and he was mobbed by autograph hunters and fans wielding camera phones as a security detail guided him gently through the crowd as he exited down a side street, not to be seen again until Saturday, fight night.
For exclusive interviews and an in-depth preview of Joshua’s fight with Breazeale, check out this week’s issue of Boxing News.