Last night promising heavyweight star and reigning Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua took another step in his journey to becoming world champion.
The highly-impressive 24-year-old faced off with Konstantin Airich, who has been in with the likes of Manuel Charr and Odlanier Solis in his career to-date.
Airich was supposed to be a step up from Joshua’s previous opponent Matt Skelton, and he proved to be a small improvement.
The veteran did land some shots and he managed to force Joshua into new territory in the professional game, moving into the third round for the first time as a professional.
Joshua was in complete control throughout the contest though and looked as ever in supreme physical condition. It really is good to see a heavyweight in such impressive condition as too often we see out-of-shape, flabby heavyweights in the ring.
Joshua showcased his stiff, sickening jab in the fight and that appears to be an ever developing weapon of his. Joshua keeps his opponents at distance with the jab and sets himself up for his vicious right hand.
Joshua floored Airich in the third round with a big right hand which rocked his head back. The Brit then unleashed a flurry of punches with Airich on the ropes before he went down on one knee.
Joshua actually threw a punch whilst Airich was on the floor, but it is unlikely that was intentional as Joshua doesn’t come across as the type of fighter who would intentionally hit a man whilst he is down.
Credit has to go to Airich for returning to his feet but it was to prove for nothing as the fight was stopped shortly after. Joshua threw another burst of shots and the referee stepped in to save Airich from further punishment.
During the post-fight interview on Sky Sports, Joshua said: "I'm just taking my time with things, picking shots.
"I'm enjoying it, getting experience at this level. There's no point rushing it and doing the same old thing as four or five months ago.
"I wanted to go eight rounds, to be honest with you. Some shots I hit him with, some opponents would've gone out in the second round, but he stood up. It's only a matter of time when you get caught with those. I caught him with a peach."
When Questioned about his camp with world champion Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua added: ''The champ's in a league of his own. He told me he had ups and downs and got them right, it's not always a smooth road. It was good experience for me and got me in good shape for this fight."
Joshua now looks set to face off with a man who recently beat Airich, Denis Bakhtov, in London on October 11th.
Bakhtov should certainly prove a step up in class and the hope is that he will provide more rounds for Joshua, who has so far destroyed every man he has been in with.
Matching Joshua correctly is going to prove tough, but if done well we really could have a star on our hands.
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