By Yousuf Ali (@boxingubanter)
On April 9th at the 02 arena live on Sky Box Office, Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15Kos) bids to become IBF heavyweight champion when he faces champion Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21Kos). The highly touted Englishmen has the unique opportunity of potentially becoming heavyweight champion in his home town, despite this unbeaten southpaw “Prince” Charles Martin looks to ruin what would be a dream night for Joshua. Once all the hype and attention is stripped away for this fight, two undefeated, big hitting and in some ways unproven heavyweights will clash in a bout which is filled with both intrigue and excitement, it promises to be a memorable fight.
In his last outing Anthony Joshua stopped fellow Brit Dillian Whyte (16-1, 13Kos) in what was an extremely entertaining fight, Joshua came through a tough spell I the second round where he took a huge left hook from the previously undefeated Whyte, despite being able to stop Whyte devastatingly in the seventh round many questions remained regarding whether Joshua was ready for world level. However the decision to face the American Martin reflects the confidence and belief in Anthony Joshua from his team. In contrast Charles Martin won the IBF heavyweight title in bizarre circumstances when Glazkov (21-1-1, 13Kos) retired in the third round following an knee injury thus handing the title to Martin; previous to this Martin’s best win has arguably come against highly overmatch Tom Dallas (17-5, 12kos) . The lack of depth to both fighters record further builds the element of uncertainty to this particular clash.
This will be the first time in the professional ranks that Joshua has faced a southpaw, many feel this may be a disadvantage to him but he told IFL TV: “We have had great sparring with southpaws”, illustrating that this issue has been combated. Although the southpaw style may present an advantage to Joshua due to the fact that Martin frequently keeps his left hand low after throwing a jab which works perfectly for Joshua’s lethal right hand. However in his previous fight Joshua was drawn into a war with Whyte, this is certainly not the way to go in this fight as Martin possess a huge left hand which he loads up with on many occasions. In addition to this Joshua will need to use the jab greatly in order to control the very awkward style of Martin. This fight presents a number of questions stylistically which will no doubt be answered when they meet.
When both men meet at the O2 arena the atmosphere will be palpable and the fight looks to be filled with action perhaps finishing in brutal fashion. You can watch the fight on Sky Box Office in the UK and on Showtime in America.by