At a time when the World Heavyweight boxing scene appears fairly quiet with Wladimir Klitschko dominating the WBA, IBF and WBO divisions, one young British boxer is beginning his path to what many believe could be the ultimate prize. Anthony Joshua won the gold medal for the Superheavyweights in the 2012 London Olympics and is now unbeaten in nine professional bouts.
Last weekend, 24 year old Joshua completed a victory against Dennis Bakhtov with a technical knockout inside two rounds, and in all nine of his fights to date, he has never boxed beyond the third round. Critics will argue that this is another case of a young upcoming boxer being sent into the ring against veteran fighters for whom another payday is the only material interest. It is the same path followed by many such promising fighters in the past but Joshua appears to complying with this trend away from the limelight and any real publicity.
Yet the path to potential heavyweight greatness seemed a distant prospect for the Londoner when he pleaded guilty and was convicted of using and dealing in Cannabis in 2011. He was then sentenced to 12 months community work. That cleared his head and focussed his attention on ridding himself of past misdemeanours to concentrate on his boxing career.
The former bricklayer is still in the early stages of progression through the heavyweight ranks but early signs are very promising with a bout with the dangerous David Price earmarked for next year. Price was considered a World title contender until losing twice to Tony Thompson but has since won three fights and retains a powerful right punch.
Price stands alongside Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora as hurdles in the path of Joshua if he wishes to claim the title as best British heavyweight and should he pass these tests, there is the prospect of fighting unbeaten American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. He is expected to face Bermane Stiverne for the WBC title in the New Year and is an odds-on favourite to claim the crown.
Should Joshua and Wilder maintain their significant promise to date, the opportunity must surely arise when Wladimir Klitschko is mentioned as a serious target assuming that the Ukrainian champion has not retired by that stage.
Until then, Anthony Joshua will continue to learn and gain experience in the ring against fighters lacking any real ambition. This happens to any potential champion whatever the weight classification as the young aspirants need to learn the tricks of the trade from the veterans. The only problem with the current path being mapped out for Joshua is that he has been too powerful and skilful to last more than 10 minutes in the ring with any opponent.
Perhaps a fight with one of the British buys will be more revealing as to his true promise, but for now, he could be considered as Britain’s best prospect of eventually winning the World Heavyweight title.
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