Anthony Joshua the one to watch in super British boxing night
On a night at Liverpool’s Echo Arena where some of Britain’s best boxers battle it out, and Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew top the billing, there is only really man on show who is destined for the top.
Heavyweight Anthony Joshua is the sport and nation’s next best thing, having already drawn comparison’s to Lennox Lewis, but he has been somewhat overshadowed by pretenders James DeGale and George Groves, who also fight on the night.
Joshua, 25, is undefeated in all nine of his fights to date, and has knocked out each opponent before the end of the third round. His next encounter is potentially his most profile and toughest yet, against veteran Michael Sprott, but it should still be a one way clash, as Coral’s odds-on price of 1/100 in Joshua’s favour suggest.
Former Prizefighter champion Sprott, now 39, though, can boast the claim that he once knocked out Audley Harrison who, like Joshua, is a former Olympic Gold medallist and is of similar height and build. He is 16/1 to win.
However, Sprott has lost twice to one of the fighters Joshua destroyed, Matt Skelton. The youngster defeated the Englishman by technical knockout in two rounds this summer in the same venue (Echo Arena), and he is a more tempting 2/1 to do so at that stage to Sprott as well.
Joshua also demolished another so-called seasoned professional last time out, two-time WBC International Heavyweight champion Denis Bakhtov, with the Russian also being stopped in the second round.
Following that battle, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said: He gets better and better. He is such a down-to-earth guy, a role model for young people.
“This is a great opportunity for British boxing, to have somebody like Anthony Joshua. He is going to go through absolutely everybody in the heavyweight division.
“He can be as humble as he likes. I won’t be. This is the most special individual I have seen in a long time. He is going to clear out the entire heavy weight division and unify it.
“This is phase two and, by the end of phase two, he will be top 15 in the WBC. Every ranking body is going to want him in their rankings because he is an absolute superstar, not just of boxing, of sport.
While Joshua is keeping as low profile as possible for now, it is not long before the likes of Cleverly, Bellew, DeGale and Groves are fighting on his undercard.
Established names such as David Haye, David Price and Tyson Fury have been linked with challenging Joshua in the near future, and he really can become Britain’s best and most exciting heavyweight boxer since Lewis.