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Joshua stepping up against 39-year-old Michael Sprott

By Scott Gilfoid: British heavyweight Anthony Joshua (9-0, 9 KOs) will be taking a slight step up in competition against 39-year-old journeyman Michael Sprott (42-22, 17 KOs) next month on November 22nd on the Nathan Cleverly vs. Tony Bellew 2 card.

The 6’6” Joshua says this is the end of his phase one part of his career, and that he plans on stepping it up against better competition after that. Of course, that remains to be seen because he’s not the one that makes his fights. His promoter Eddie Hearn is the guy that sets up his fights, and it’ll be interesting to see if there actually is a step up in competition after he fights Sprott.

The Sprott fight really isn’t a step up for Joshua from his last fight against 34-year-old Denis Bakhtov, just as the Bakhtov fight really wasn’t a step up from Joshua’s fight before that against Konstantin Airich. Both guys were the same. Sprott was recently knocked out in one round by 44-year-old Kalie Meehan, so you can’t say Sprott is any kind of a step up for Joshua, can you?

““I think it’s my accuracy more than my power. I haven’t been doing much strength work recently because I have been in the gym so much so I think speed and accuracy is getting me through right now,” Joshua said via

It’s good to know that Joshua is focusing more on speed rather than on bulking up because he’s already huge and slow as it is. He doesn’t need more size on his upper body because the muscles that he’s put on since turning pro last year has made him look slower than he was when he was fighting in the amateur ranks. The last thing Joshua needs right now is to put on more muscle and end up totally musclebound.

All these mismatches that Joshua’s promoter is putting him in are really doing nothing for him. I mean, there’s nothing he can learn from going out and bludgeoning a hapless opponent like Bakhtov. That was futile. The only way Joshua is going to learn anything is if he gets put in with a decent heavyweight like Chris Arreola, Kubrat Pulev, Mike Perez or Carlos Takam. Of that bunch, I’d like to see what Joshua would do against TaKam.

If Joshua loses then at least they’ll know that he didn’t have the talent and can focus on a level that is more suited towards his talents. But you don’t want to see Joshua waste 3-4 years of his career fighting fodder and then get up there and get wasted by the likes of Pulev, Arreola, Perez or Takam.

“That fight will complete a phase in my mind,” Joshua said about the Sprott fight. “If I keep beating people then I’m going to move up, so if I beat Michael then I am sure we’ll be stepping up in 2015. We’ve done Bakhtov and got the WBC International belt and now we’re looking at Sprott, so by the end of 2015 it will be interesting to see where we are.”

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