Unbeaten heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua knows better than anyone how quality southpaw sparring is paramount to his chances against defending IBF heavyweight champ Charles Martin. “A.J” has not fought a southpaw before in his 15-0 pro career, and people are wondering how the stance of Martin may or may not affect Joshua on April 9th.
Joshua has revealed to Sky Sports how he is sparring, amongst others, unbeaten Swedish lefty, Otto Wallin. The 25-year-old with the 14-0(10) pro record is almost as tall as Joshua and he has, according to the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner, been providing good work.
Martin, who read about the sparring his upcoming challenger has been having Tweeted; “We will see if that’s enough though.”
Indeed, will it be enough? Joshua still has plenty of time to go until the Martin fight, and he will almost certainly bring in more quality southpaw fighters for sparring. Of course, in the history of the heavyweight division, there have been precious few southpaw champions; Michael Moorer being the first lefty to win the crown back in 1994. But there are a number of good southpaw contenders out there, it’s just a matter of whether or not Joshua and his team can get to work with them.
Joshua actually fought Wallin as an amateur back in 2010, beating him on points. But Joshua does not have too much experience against southpaws ad Martin will surely be hoping his stance provides his challenger with major problems in London. Some experts – such as Irish legend Barry McGuigan and former referee Mickey Vann – have expressed concern for Joshua, saying the Martin fight may have come a little too soon for the 26-year-old who has yet to be extended beyond the 7th-round.
And as to what Joshua will do if he wins the IBF title is another question. Will Joshua get busy defending the belt, against the top contenders, or will he perhaps relinquish the belt and pick up further experience before launching a second assault on the world crown? One other big question is, how will Joshua’s stamina hold up if he has to go 12-rounds? This, as well as the southpaw issue, could prove key on April 9th.