Tonight in London, before a sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena, Anthony Joshua proved to be way too strong and powerful for defending IBF heavyweight champ Charles Martin. After a relatively cagey opener, Joshua opened up in the 2nd, twice dropping his southpaw opponent with right hands. The fight was all over after the second knockdown, as Martin was counted out in the act of rising. The official time was 1:52 of round-2. Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, is now 16-0(16). Martin, who was very poor, loses for the first time as a pro and is now 23-1-1(21).
Martin looked stiff and upright from the first bell, as a patient Joshua took his time as he found his range. The first three minutes passed quickly as the challenger got home with his jab and right hand on occasion. Then in the 2nd the mismatch was all over. Joshua’s big right hand crashed home and down Martin went. He got up quickly but was soon sent tumbling again. Martin was smiling as he sat on the canvas, then listened to the count, but he didn’t appear to try his hardest to get up before “10.” And that was it, the Belgian ref waved the fight off, with a slight protest, a half-hearted one, by Martin, and Joshua became the fifth Britisher to lay claim to a version of the heavyweight crown (Bob Fitzsimmons, Lennox Lewis, Frank Bruno, Herbie Hide).
The big question is, where does Joshua go next? The new IBF boss is free to take a voluntary or two before his mandatory will be issued in November, so who will A.J fight? Still to be extended beyond the 7th-round (this by Dillian Whyte who gave Joshua his toughest test to date last time out) Joshua will likely face a “safe” first title challenger. But the big fights, the mega events, will hopefully come in time.
As for deposed, now ex-champ Martin, it will prove to be a mighty long road back. Martin promised so much in the lead in to tonight’s fight, but ultimately he gave very little.