2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist Anthony Joshua (9-0, 9 KOs) took care of business on Saturday night in dismantling a shorter, older and far slower Denis Bakhtov (38-10, 25 KOs) in scoring a 2nd round stoppage to win the World Boxing Council International heavyweight title at the O2 Arena in London, UK. The win sets the soon to be 25-year-old Joshua up with a fight against Michael Sprott on November 22nd on the Bellew-Cleverly 2 card in Liverpool, UK.
Joshua, 6’6”, hurt the 5’11” Bakhtov with a right hand in the 2nd round. Bakhtov was against the ropes at the time and pretty much helpless with nowhere to go. Joshua then opened up with a storm of shots to the head resulting in the referee Ian John-Lewis separating the two fighters for some reason.
It looked like he got confused about whether he wanted to stop the fight, but then he changed his mind and let it continue briefly. Joshua then added two more punches before the fight was finally stopped by John-Lewis at 1:00 of the 2nd round.
Bakhtov, 34, really didn’t do much in the fight because he was too busy taking hard heat shots from the taller Joshua. At one point in the 2nd round, Bakhtov came forward and landed a hard left hook to the head of Joshua, but this resulted in Joshua hitting him with a counter right hand that sent Bakhtov back against the ropes. Joshua then finished him off a short moments later.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said after the fight that he sees Joshua capturing all the world titles in the near future.
“He’s going to go through absolutely everybody in the heavyweight division and unify,” Eddie Hearn said. “He’s humble but I’m not going to be. Joshua vs. Price is a big, big fight.”
Hearn should probably wait a while before he makes bold pronouncements about the future of Joshua, because it’s still too early at this point to say what he will or won’t do. If he gets in there with a heavy puncher with some good size that can reach him, we might see Joshua exposed the same way we saw Audley Harrison exposed. Audley was destroying everyone when he was at the same point in his career that Joshua is currently at. It was when Audley was put in with quality heavyweights that he started to fall apart.
#6 IBF Lee Selby (20-1, 8 KOs) beat #3 IBF Joel Brunker (27-1, 15 KOs) in a 9th round stoppage victory to earn the IBF mandatory spot. The Brunker-Selby fight was an IBF featherweight eliminator. Selby now becomes the mandatory to IBF featherweight champion Eveny Gradovich.
Brunker did not fight at all like someone ranked #3 by the IBF. He looked very poor and weak throughout the fight.
Selby, who isn’t known for his punching power, dropped Brunker in the 9th. The fight was stopped at that moment. Brunker had been in trouble before the knockdown from body shots by Selby.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:49 of the round.
Brunker looked far worse than many of the domestic fighters that Selby had faced during his career, and it makes you wonder what the IBF was thinking about when they gave Brunker the No.3 ranking.
Other action on tonight’s card of boxing at the O2 Arena:
Tyler Goodjohn MD 10 Ricky Boylan
John Ryder TKO 5 Theophilus Tetteh