Boxing

Anthony Joshua enters phase two of march towards heavyweight glory

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British boxing's biggest prospect in more ways than one Anthony Joshua continued his march towards heavyweight glory in swift and stunning fashion last night, taking out the durable veteran Denis Bakhtov inside two rounds.

Joshua was fighting for his first title at the 02 Arena against a man who hadn't been stopped in nine years, but his resistance was quickly broken with a sinister smile by a man who continues to make rapid progress in the professional ranks.

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Plotting a path towards long-term success

The 24-year-old has now quickly rattled off nine wins in 12 months as a pro and has a WBC international heavyweight strap to show for his efforts, but it all remains a question of timing and progression for the Olympic Gold Medalist.

Sterner tests await but Joshua was satisfied with what he saw as the start of 'phase two' in his plan for bigger and better things last night, which continues with a domestic-dust up against Michael Sprott in Liverpool on November 22.

After dismantling Bakhtov the Watford man told Sky Sports: “We are in phase two now so it is time to step it up

“It only went two rounds and I just wanted to hurt him. I could have boxed but I wanted to work my inside game. He has not been stopped, so I just wanted to see what he could take and see what he was about.

“He was a strong guy, he was not an easy opponent but I wanted to make light work of him.

“Phase two, you can kind of see what route we are going in. Michael Sprott is first and, by the end of it. I’m sure we will be fighting for another belt or some sort of British title. That’s what I’m looking forward to already.

Sprott to be followed by Price?

British fight fans should be very excited about both Joshua's potential and the possibility of big domestic clashes over the next 12 months, with David Price a viable opponent in the not too distant future.

Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora and perhaps even one-time sparing partner David Haye also loom large further down the line, but for now Joshua is happy to move through the ranks at his own pace, considered but forceful.

The relatively green prodigy remains a wonderful problem for promoter Eddie Hearn, just how do you find the right level of opponent for a 6'6'', 17-stone giant who is taking out relative journeyman with alarming ease?

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