Joshua aims to dethrone heavyweight champion Martin, Selby stars on undercard
Lee Gormley | April 7, 2016
Charles Martin v Anthony Joshua
- IBF heavyweight title fight
- Saturday, April 9th
- Scheduled for: 22:30 BST
- The O2 Arena, London
- Live on Sky Sports Box Office
Joshua looks to clinch heavyweight title
Anthony Joshua’s journey from being an Olympic Gold medalist to a world heavyweight title contender has taken just 15 professional fights, as he prepares to tackle IBF champion Charles Martin in his 16th ring outing, which could be his finest yet.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a rampant run from Olympic glory in 2012 to recently securing the British strap, and he now faces the huge prospect of earning a world title victory at this early stage of his already impressive career.
After emphatically stopping long-standing rival Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena in December, Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) returns to the scene of his last four successive knockout wins hoping to topple Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) and is 11/2 with Coral to stop the champion in rounds 7-9 in the capital.
Former Olympian seeks ‘ultimate double’
The 6ft 6in Briton has captured the imagination of boxing fans in the UK, as well as winning over high-profile admirers such as Wladimir Klitschko, with his devastating KO streak earning him a huge reputation and plenty of other potential PPV match-ups further down the line.
Current unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury looks likely of being one of those in the near future, but first the undefeated power puncher looks to dethrone the man calling himself ‘Prince’ Charles Martin, with history set to be achieved if he does.
The Watford-born contender is 6/4 to stop Martin early in rounds 1-3, with a win set to see him become the first boxer to hold a version of the professional world heavyweight title while being reigning champion in the Olympics’ heaviest weight division.
“Hmm, Olympic champion and world pro champion at the same time. It’s the ultimate double really. That would be really cool if I could,” stated Joshua.
“You want to go in and take someone’s head off…”
Only truly elite fighters have achieved world title supremacy while still being Olympic champions, with Joshua possibly about to join the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Patterson in achieving such a feat.
To overcome Martin in London, ‘AJ’ will need to be at his devastating best yet again, but the previous test against a defiant Whyte will be sure to help his cause, having been taken as far as seven rounds for the first time professionally.
The home favourite will enter proceedings at 13/2 for a points victory on Saturday night, as he prepares to go into another blood battle and become world champion.
“It’s a blood sport business. You want to go in and take someone’s head off,” declared Joshua.
“You fight until you’re pulled apart…”
“This isn’t golf. It’s the fight game, the hurt business. You fight until you’re pulled off your opponent. That’s what I’d tell any fighter in my gym.
“You don’t fight and listen for the bell. That’s why people get punched after the bell. As a fighter, let’s not forget what you’re in it for. You’re a gladiator, a warrior and you fight until you’re pulled apart. That’s where I’m coming from.”
Joshua will take to the ring this weekend as the fight favourite but the visiting opponent arrives with a wealth of dangerous qualities that could derail the Briton’s world title charge (5/1 to win by KO).
Joshua hopes can go south against leftie Martin
Fellow unbeaten Martin boasts 21 stoppages in his career, with a single draw coming back in 2013 during a four-round brawl with Mexican Alvaro Morales, and he clinched the previously vacated IBF strap after Vyacheslav Glazkov was forced to retire with injury during their meeting in January.
The 29-year-old St Louis-born champion is 28/1 to halt Joshua in rounds 10-12, with the home hope having to be aware of the dangerous southpaw’s crushing left hand which has brought him much success so far in his career.
For a showdown which tickets sold out for within 90 seconds, both fighters have claimed it’s unlikely to go the full 12 rounds (4/1 to go the distance), though it’s Joshua who will aim to have his hand raised with a world title around his waist come Saturday night after just 16 fights.
Selby stars on exciting undercard
Welshman Lee Selby will defend his IBF featherweight title against Eric Hunter before Joshua and Martin take to the ring at the O2 Arena, and the reigning champion is 7/4 to retain his strap by KO.
The 29-year-old is tipped to face a blockbuster summer showdown against either Carl Frampton or Leo Santa Cruz, but his American opponent is aiming to derail those future hopes with an upset, making him 9/2 to spring a surprise in London.
WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell is a massive odds-on 1/50 favourite to defend his belt against Fernando Vargas, with the Coral-sponsored fighter 14/1 to endure a stunning defeat.
Meanwhile, George Groves is 3/1 to halt David Brophy in rounds 1-3 in his latest outing on home soil, while Brian Rose (4/1 for KO) and Matthew Macklin (11/4 KO win) square-off for what could be a thrilling encounter, with the latter claiming he’ll retire if he tastes defeat.
Finally, promising Hackney lightweight Ohara Davies is odds-on 1/20 to overcome Andy Keates for the English crown, while Conor Benn, son of ‘the Dark Destroyer’ Nigel, makes his professional debut 20 years after his father retired and following a mere 22 amateur fights in Australia, on what should be an enthralling night in London.
Coral’s top tip: Back Anthony Joshua to stop Charles Martin in rounds 7-9 at 11/2.