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Skelton compares Anthony Joshua to Audley Harrison

joshua222By Scott Gilfoid: 47-year-old Matt Skelton (28-8, 23 KO’s) will be the next opponent for 2012 London Olympics super heavyweight gold medalist Anthony Joshua (6-0, 6 KO’s) this Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK. Their fight is scheduled for 6 rounds, but it’s not expected to go more than 3 rounds due to the clever match-making by Joshua’s promoter.

Skelton compares the 6’6” Joshua with 6’5” Audley Harrison, a British heavyweight who captured an Olympic gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Indeed, Harrison did a better job and was far more dominating than Joshua in winning his gold medal. But unfortunately for Harrison (31-7, 23 KOs) his boxing career failed to pan out the way some thought it would be, as he never captured a world heavyweight title.

“Anthony Joshua has all the natural attributes of a good Heavyweight – he’s in brilliant shape, but we saw with Audley Harrison in his early days, he went through 18 fights unbeaten against hand-picked opponents and then he came unstuck,” said Skelton.

Audley started off his career with 19 straight victories before he tasted defeat for the first time in a loss to Danny Williams in 2005. While Audley was mowing down the mostly fodder opposition there were quite a few back slappers who saw him as a future world champion, and a serious threat to the Klitschkos. But once he stepped up the level of opposition from fodder to average heavyweights, Audley struggled and lost his way.

The question is will we see the same thing from Joshua? Audley arguably looked better in his first 19 fights than Joshua has looked in his first 6, mainly because of Harrison’s athleticism, flexibility, and ability to dominate with his left hand without getting hit. In contrast, Joshua has been getting hit flush by the weak opposition he’s faced thus far, he looks robotic, stiff and he pushes his punches instead of snaps them out.

With the huge amount of muscle Joshua’s carrying around on his upper body there are questions about whether Joshua will have stamina problems once he starts facing better opposition and is moved up to 10-12 round fights. A smart heavyweight fighting defensively could take Joshua to the deeper rounds and drown him rather than trying to punch with him in the first 6 rounds.

We’re going to find out soon enough whether Joshua has the stamina to fight at the pro level or if he’s just another former amateur star who couldn’t make the transition from the amateur ranks to the pros due to the stamina that it required to fight in the processional ranks.

Skelton said “I am not going to Liverpool to lay down and take a paycheck, that’s not in my make-up and I am not all about money, I am always in the gym ticking over and we really didn’t do enough to prepare for the Price fight. I have been training hard and often and I needed a fight. They think that if he does beat me it is a good name on his record. But I am not here tonight to accept that, I just think it is a risky fight for him but Heavyweight boxing is a risky business as we all know, one-punch can change everything.”

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