By Andrew Sutherland (@BigAndySuths)
The UK will come to a stand still on Saturday night when highly touted Anthony Joshua (15-0-0) takes on American southpaw, “Prince” Charles Martin (23-0-1), for the IBF World Heavyweight title. A fight that is also sure to capture the imagination of fight fans from across the pond.
In Joshua’s last outing he fought old amateur foe Dillian Whyte, in what many believed would offer a greater insight in to whether Joshua would live up to the hype, and to a certain extent; it did.
We learnt that with a solid chin, clever ring craft and the slightest bit of ambition that has been lacking in many of Joshua’s opponents. It is possible to weather the early storm and take advantage of a fighter who has not had the opportunity to see the latter parts of a 12 round fight. Whyte did catch Joshua, and for a split second we saw a side of AJ that has not been seen in the ring or out of it since his big breakthrough at the London Olympics of 2012; vulnerability.
If Saturday’s showdown follows a similar script, you feel that this could play in to Martin’s hands. The 29-year old American, for all we have seen of, has a good chin and whilst not being technically great is very astute within the squared circle and is quite an awkward southpaw who may be able to survive Joshua’s trademark early onslaughts. On the other hand, Joshua will be feeling confident after watching Martin winning the belt against Vyacheslav Glazkov in his last outing. Martin carries power in both hands, however, is a notably slow starter and may not be given the opportunity to get his own punches away before Joshua jumps on him in a fashion that we have become so accustomed to seeing.
Many have raised concerns that this fight may have come a step to early for Joshua, who in 15 fights has fought not much more than journeymen. However, it is important to remember that whilst being the champion, Martin has faced somewhat limited opposition himself.
Only two fights ago he fought Tom Dallas who had not entered a ring in over two years and had a rather modest record to begin with. However, with the heavyweight scene massively shaken up following Tyson Fury’s victory against Wladimir Klitchsko, now is not the time for conservative matchmaking or tip toeing around the fringes.
Both men deserve plaudits for facing off against one and other. In recent years we have seen promising fighters avoiding one and other in order to maintain their fabled 0’s. Not in this case.
The two giants will clash on Saturday and it has to be said that on paper there is nothing to separate them, it will be a case of the better man winning on the night. Whether that is via an early stoppage for AJ, or Prince Charles grinding his man down and coming on strong in the later rounds remains to be seen. What is apparent is that whatever the outcome, both men will play a big part in the rejuvenating heavyweight scene.by