DOMINIC BREAZEALE has sparred over 160 rounds ahead of his fight with IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on Saturday, with many of those rounds being with cruiserweights.

Joshua, mainly known for his knockout power, also has very fast hands, something Breazeale’s head trainer Manny Robles is well aware of.

In preparation for the unbeaten champion, Robles drafted in fast cruiserweights to help his man learn how to deal with speed and power.

“We’ve a lot of good sparring, over 160 rounds. We’ve been sparring since before we got the call to fight Anthony Joshua, in camp and training,” Robles told Boxing News.

“In total, we did about 160 rounds, 750 rounds of training in the gym. That’s just boxing, outside of strength and conditioning, roadwork etc.

“With sparring partners, I was looking for speed and size. We had Murat Gassiev, Dmitry Kudryashov – top, world rated cruiserweights, big, fast cruiserweights. Of course they weren’t cruiserweights at the time, they were heavyweights.

“Gerald Washington as well, a big, fast undefeated heavyweight. Those were the top guys.”

Breazeale and his team flew in to London from their camp in California just over a week ago, and Breazeale’s wife and eldest son joined them yesterday.

Robles noted the importance of Dominic’s family to the fighter, but was also quick to point out that the unbeaten 30-year-old has not travelled across the Atlantic to lose.

“I don’t take anything away from Anthony Joshua, this is a very tough fight, we know that but that’s why Dominic is so confident, because of the work we put in the gym. We’re not here to see if we can, we’re here because we can,” he said.

“All he’s got to do is look back and see his family, his wife and kids, they’re why he’s here and why he trains as hard as he does. He’s dedicated.”

Robles trained Breazeale as an amateur, and oversaw his transition into the London 2012 Olympic Games. When Breazeale turned over, he moved to a different trainer, though purely for logistical reasons.

Robles and Breazeale teamed up again last October, and the Joshua fight will be their second together after Dominic stopped Amir Mansour after five rounds in January.

Breazeale, a heavy underdog, is not fancied by most observors in this fight, though Robles hopes Joshua and his team feel the same way.

“I’ve been following his [Breazeale’s] entire career, every single one of his fights and understanding what he needed to improve on, but not being a part of it so I had to understand I wasn’t his coach. So when I got the phone call to work with him of course I was happy and I said ‘I know exactly what you need to work on.’

“I sure hope they’re looking ahead of us, that works for us. If he’s looking ahead at other fights and what not, that’s a big mistake. Let’s hope he is.”

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