Anthony Joshua attempts to break onto the International scene this Saturday
By Kevin Brown: British Heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (8(8)-0) returns to the ring this Saturday night to fight for the vacant WBC International heavyweight title against Denis Bakhtov (38(25)-9) from Kazakhstan. This will be seen as Eddies Hearns first step to get Joshua’s name out there onto the world scene and an attempt to get him on the ladder of the World rankings.
It’s interesting to note that although it’s still early days, Hearn seems to be leading Joshua down the WBC route. Perhaps this is where Hearn can see the big fights happening in future, currently Bermaine Stiverne holds the WBC strap, but is due a mandatory fight against the enigma that is knock-out specialist Deontay Wilder.
The jury is still out on Wilder, and this is mainly due to Al-Haymon matching his fighter against limited opposition. It’s important to note that his most dangerous opponents so far have been have been Audley Harrison and Malik Scott. There is no doubt that Wilder possesses tremendous power, but whether or not he can take a punch, that is what everyone is waiting to find out and should the match with Stiverne finally get made, we will find out for sure because Stiverne is no light hitter himself with an 80% KO ratio.
Lets not pretend Anthony is anywhere near ready to fight for a World title yet. He would tell you himself that this is simply the first step. Some people have been quite quick to point out that he doesn’t seem to have much body movement and at times can be robotic, But this never did the Klitschkos any harm in dominating the heavyweight scene for the last decade and since Joshua has been spending time sparring with Wladamir it looks that he’s looking to build on the skills he has, rather than worry too much about what he doesn’t have. Bakhtov has been in with some tough opponents in his career but has never managed to come out on top and I expect a similar fate here.
What perhaps makes this fight more intriguing is that only two weeks later Joshua is due to fight again on the Cleverly-Bellew undercard where he will likely get quite a handsome payday given that the fight is on UK PPV. So if you take that into consideration it seems logical that Joshua will want Bakhtov out of there as soon as possible because the last thing he will want is to get a nasty cut which would put him out until the new year. Provided that everything goes according to plan against Bakhtov this Saturday, Joshua will take on Michael Sprott in a British title eliminator two weeks later. Should Joshua win that as expected. We can expect to see Joshua take on a yet to be confirmed opponent for the British heavyweight title probably in the New Year perhaps on the Froch-TBA undercard. Who Joshua could fight for the British title is anyone’s guess because I have serious reservations that Frank Warren will want Joshua taking on either of his two fighters Fury or Chisora, the winner of Fury/Chisora will be looking to immediately vacate the title and will be WBO mandatory and the loser will be hoping to pick up a nice payday as a voluntary challenge for the other world belt holder. David Price has also distanced himself from the British title by saying he has already been there and done that so it could leave Joshua picking up the title in a formality fight against someone like Richard Towers (14-1).
If you read between the lines on this, the smart money would be on a round 1/2 knock out this Saturday. This fight won’t go on a minute longer than necessary so expect a fast start and an explosive finish.
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- Tyson Fury on fighting Usyk & Joshua: “I don’t think they want to fight me”
- Eddie Hearn wants Joshua vs. Whyte rematch in August