Anthony Joshua was last night given his first attempt at an International title, when he stepped across the apron at the 02 arena in east London. Up until this fight Joshua has had some carefully selected opponents that he has quite literally taken out in emphatic fashion. Being the new generation of heavyweight British contenders the UK fan base is hopeful of the 24 year old to take us back to the glory days of Lennox Lewis. From last nights performance against what was considered his toughest test yet, Denis Bakhtov who in fairness has a quite respectable record of 38 wins with 25 going by knock out and 10 losses, and not being stopped in 9 years as a professional fighter this could of been on paper, a potentially risky opponent for the Londoner.
The crowd at the 02 arena came out in full support of Anthony Joshua as we all wanted to see Joshua going through the paces a bit more, but what was witnessed by everyone in the arena and on sky sports, was a superb display of concentration and maturity from the young Londoner as he started the fight on the front foot and showed Bakhtov just how difficult it is to connect a punch. Joshua kept his distance and continuously threw his stiff jab into the face of the Russian and by the end of round 1 his face was already bruised and red. The bell sounded for the beginning of round 2, and Joshua by this point in the fight knew he could totally dominate and out box his opponent. He countered beautifully as Bakhtov tried in vane to go on a last ditch offensive assault. Joshua then landed a ferocious cross which nearly took the head of Bekhtov off, followed with a combination of unanswerable punches which rained down on Joshua’s truly beaten opponent, as referee Ian John-Lewis stepped in between the fighters to save Bakhtov from any further sustained punishment.
Joshua is now well and truly on his world title bid and there is further talk of his next opponent being Michael Sprott. This is a fight that the British fight contingent will be happy to watch, but after last nights performance and convincing knock out win against a fighter who travelled thousands of miles to come to London to fight and win, I believe that Joshua could very well be our genuine next heavyweight champion, and if guided right by promoter Eddie Hearn, who in fairness is doing a great job. It will be an interesting journey for all fans of boxing, and not just the very loyal British fight fans, but the world over. His WBC International title belt is most definitely the first of many to come.