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Hearn: Anthony Joshua to fight Yaroslav Zavorotnyi on August 30th in Dublin, Ireland

Anthony JoshuaBy Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn says that unbeaten heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (7-0, 7 KO’s) will be fighting next month against former David Price victim 39-year-old journeyman Yaroslav Zavorotnyi (16-7, 14 KO’s) in another ‘step up’ fight for the 24-year-old Joshua on August 30th at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Former two-time middleweight title challenger Matthew Macklin will be on the card, and possibly Andy Lee.

Joshua defeated 47-year-old Matt Skelton last Saturday night by a 2nd round knockout at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Joshua knocked Skelton down with a right to the head. After he got up, Joshua hit Skelton with a shot to the chest and the fight was stopped.

Joshua was still pushing his punches, and not showing the explosive power snap on his shots that you’d like to see from a prospect. He throwing shots, but looking slightly musclebound still and lacking the speed and fluidity that he’s going to need to compete with the better heavyweights. Right now, Joshua looks still like a 4-round amateur fighter, but far facing far, far worse opposition than he fought in the Olympics.

“We’re going to Dublin on August 30th and fight Zavorotnyi, who just took David Price 10 rounds, so it’s going to be a step up for him [Joshua],” Hearn said after the Joshua-Skelton fight last night. “It’s a great fight for him. I’m just so excited about British boxing. You’re seeing the evolution of the next heavyweight champion of the world. I have no doubt this boy is going all the way. He’s going to be huge for British boxing. Anthony Joshua is going all the way.”

I don’t know how Joshua is going to be the next heavyweight champion of the world with him being brought a long so slowly. At this pace, Joshua, even if he beats the people that are put in front of him, won’t get a title shot for at least 3-4 years. I mean, I hardly think that WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne is going to be able to hold onto his title for that long. Someone is going to beat him, and likely Deontay Wilder in his next fight.

It’s not really fair to Joshua for Hearn to be building him up like this prematurely after just 7 fights. Joshua is still a million miles away from a world title shot, and right now I have serious doubts whether he’s going to be able to beat the top tier heavyweights, especially once they take him past the 4th round. He’s got all that muscle he’s carrying around on his upper body, and he doesn’t look like a huge puncher compared to other heavyweights in the top tier.

Price, Dereck Chisora, and David Haye look to have more power than him in British boxing. And there are a number of other heavyweights that look to have more power than him as well. Instead of building Joshua up, Hearn needs to take it one fight at a time, and hope that he can keep winning.

Zavorotnyi went 10 rounds with Price last month in losing a 10 round decision. About the best that Zavorotnyi did was soak up punishment and extend Price. He rarely threw punches in the fight, and spent much of the time clinching. Zavorotnyi may be able to take Joshua the 8 round distance in the fight, but it’s not going to tell us much about Joshua’s chin, stamina or his ability to fight someone that throws shots back at him. Zavorotnyi doesn’t throw punches. It’s rare that he lets a single punch go. I don’t see him as being a step up from Skelton other than having someone that will absorb punishment. What good is that if the guy isn’t going to be throwing punches back?

IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch was also high on Joshua, saying “This is the evolution of the next heavyweight champion. I’m already convinced. He needs to step it up. I can see him wiping the floor with every heavyweight out there when he steps it up.”

As you can see, Froch is basically parroting the thoughts from Eddie Hearn. As far as Joshua wiping the floor of the best heavyweights, I really don’t see that happening. Skelton was landing power shots for 2 rounds last night. That probably wouldn’t have happened if he was in the ring with the likes of Deontay, Bryant Jennings, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam and Andy Ruiz had they been in the ring with him last night. I see all those heavyweights beating Joshua when/if he ever steps up against world class competition.


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