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Anthony Joshua targets U.S. after signing exclusive Showtime deal

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Joshua, Breazeale get heated before fight (1:47)

Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale exchange heated words ahead of their June 25th fight. (1:47)

Anthony Joshua hopes to wow an American TV audience when he faces Dominic Breazeale in the first of a new multi-fight deal with U.S. broadcaster Showtime.

The Briton will make a first defence of his IBF heavyweight belt against American Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) at London's O2 on June 25, in a fight screened live in the States by Showtime after they signed up as Joshua's exclusive U.S. partner.

Amir Khan's WBC world middleweight title fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in Las Vegas on Saturday is the biggest global fight of the year, but Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs), 26, is now a bigger star in the UK.

The Olympic gold medallist's popularity could increase further now Showtime will be putting him on American television screens at a time when the heavyweight division is generating excitement once again.

Breazeale, a former college quarterback for the University of North Colorado, is not expected to upset Joshua's plans for bigger fights.

But the Watford-born fighter is giving his first challenger plenty of respect.

"Me and Dominic are very equal in terms of being professionals, we've been around the same time," Joshua said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"He's had 17 fights, I've had 16, and we were both at the 2012 Olympics. He's the fourth undefeated fighter I'm fighting.

"It's a great link up with the U.S. broadcaster and it's a chance for me to announce myself in America.

"I respect the [IBF] governing body but I would rather not have that belt up there because I've got to keep that underdog mentality. I'm far from dropping the ball."

Showtime has signed a deal to become the exclusive U.S. television partner of Joshua with the prospect of future world title unification fights against the holder of the WBA, WBO and WBC belts. Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko meet for the latter two on July 9, while WBC champion Deontay Wilder meets Alexander Povetkin on May 21.

There has also been discussion that Joshua could one day face fellow Briton David Haye, the former WBA world champion, and China's 2008 Olympic silver medallist Zhang Zhilei, who has won eight fights as a professional -- five by KO -- since basing himself in Las Vegas in 2014.

Breazeale, 30, will hope to last longer than his fellow American Charles Martin, who was stopped 1 minute, 32 seconds into the second round last month.

"Charles Martin came over here and dropped the ball," said Martin. "I hope Anthony Joshua is preparing for a war because that's what I'm going to give him."