At the O2 Arena, London, Anthony Joshua put in a calm, classy performance en route to producing another KO highlight reel finish. Joshua wasted no time checking IBF champ Charles Martin’s chin the 1st round, tagging his man with a number heavy rights. In fact, Joshua pretty much couldn’t miss. To Martin’s credit, he absorbed the shots well and showcased some admirable composure.
But Joshua doesn’t like to overstay his welcome in fights, and so it wasn’t long before the night ended. The 26-year-old fired a counter-right in the 2nd which sent Martin straight to the canvas. Martin beat the count, but was in serious trouble with two minutes still remaining on the clock. Joshua waited for Martin to come straight to him and then – bam! – scored an immediate knockdown courtesy of another counter-right.
Martin smiled, but was undoubtedly in a very bad place. Also known as ‘hell’ in some quarters. He bravely got to his feet, but didn’t erect himself until the count of ten; which, yeah, is probably going to make a bunch of select fight fans go absolutely crazy on Twitter. In all honesty, Martin should have been allowed to continue, but, er…what would have been the point? There was plenty of time left in the round for Joshua to do further damage, and if the stretchers can remain ringisde that’s always a good thing.
Anthony Joshua now becomes a world champion in just his sixteenth fight, picking up Martin’s IBF Heavyweight title. Joshua stands at 16 wins, no defeats, 16 knockouts, while Charles Martin returns home to the states with 23 wins, no defeats, 1 draw, 21 knockouts.
Joshua vs Martin Undercard
Lee Selby vs Eric Hunter
Lee Selby had his work cut out with Eric Hunter in the early sessions, surviving a knockdown en route to rallying back to land a Unanimous Decision. The official scorecards were fair, coming in at 115-111 and 116-110 twice. Here at Boxing Base we had no qualms scoring it 116-110, which took into account a Hunter low blow point deduction in the 8th round.
Selby vs Hunter looked to be a sleeping giant on the Joshua vs Martin card. Well, that was certainly true during the first half of the fight. Hunter’s smarts and slick boxing ability were evident in the opening stanza, with the unheralded visitor catching the London crowd’s attention by knocking down Selby in the 2nd round. The counter right-hook was a peach of a shot, but Selby’s impressive recovery powers allowed him to go straight back to work and see out the round.
Hunter has great natural talent – as serious boxing fans may already know – but seems to struggle when matched against classy oppostion who can match his ability. Hunter had plenty of moments in this fight, but became increasingly outworked by a hungrier, more tennacious foe in Selby.
Lee Selby now climbs to 23 wins, 1 defeat, 8 knockouts, while Eric Hunter drops to 21 wins, 4 defeats, 11 knockouts. Selby of course defends his IBF Featherweight title in the process.
Conor Benn vs Ivailo Boyanov
Not a lot to report on here. Conor Benn, son of British legend and former Middleweight champ Nigel Benn, made quick and easy work of Ivailo Boyanovin. Benn wasted no time taking out Boyanovin in the 1st round, punishing his opponent with plenty of bombs before the referee halted the action.
Benn, whose record now reads 1 win, no defeats, 1 knockout, has officially made his Junior Welterweight debut. And the Joshua vs Martin stage isn’t a bad one to do it on. Boyanovin now reduces to 2 wins, 4 defeats, 1 draw, 2 knockouts.
George Groves vs David Brophy
George Groves had very few problems with an overmatched yet spirited David Brophy, ending the Super Middleweight contest with a 4th round knockout. Groves hurt his man in the opener via a right hand, and outworked Brophy thanks to his renowned timing and stiff jab. Brophy was game, but this was a fight of levels he just couldn’t win. Brophy went down off a hard straight to the solar plexus in the 4th, with the agonizing shot keeping him fixed firmly to the canvas.
Groves is still undergoing ‘construction work’ since his savage defeat to Carl Froch in 2014, but obviosuly needs to now be steered in the direction of bigger challenges. Groves extends his record to 23 wins, 3 defeats, 18 knockouts, while Brophy drops to 16 wins, 1 defeat, 1 draw, 1 knockout.
Jamie McDonnell vs Fernando Vargas
Jamie McDonnell successfully defended his WBA Bantamweight title against Fernando Vargas. McDonnell dominated the action from the onset, gradually increasing his work rate en route to overwhelming and knocking down a completely spent Vargas in the 9th round. If your’e a fan of the jab, and methodical, calculated boxing, then you’re likely already a fan of McDonnell.
Should McDonnell have taken this three-day-replacement opponent out much sooner? Perhaps. Perhaps not. McDonnell’s style won’t please every type of fight fan out there, but I rate him as a serious talent, and certainly an elite Bantamweight. Solid defense, exceptional footwork, intelligent aggression, and to cap it off, he’s never wreckless. I don’t need to tell you that McDonnell, who bettered revered Tomoki Kameda twice in his last two outings, is extremely underrated.
My guess is that McDonnell will have to bulk up to Junior Featherweight to chase down Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg to receive the recognition he deserves. Not that I think either of those fights would be easy. Hell no. Anyway, McDonnell now rises to 28 wins, 2 defeats, 1 draw, 12 knockouts, while Vargas falls to 29 wins, 10 defeats, 3 draws, 20 knockouts.
Matthew Macklin vs Brian Rose
A gritty scrap kicked off the Joshua vs Martin card. Former world title challengers Matthew Macklin and Brian Rose will now be considered domestic-level at best, but still managed to produce a spirited, albeit scrappy, Middleweight 12-rounder. This was one of those fights that splits opinion right down the middle when it comes to scoring. The age-old question: Do you like the cleaner, sharper work of Rose, or the aggressive, pressing attacks from Macklin?
Anyway, Macklin got the nod, with the final scorecards tallying at 113-113 and 115-111 twice. Boxing Base saw the action 117-111, but wouldn’t argue with a few rounds having gone either way. Macklin now improves to 35 wins, 6 defeats, 22 knockouts, while Rose slips to 28 wins, 4 defeats, 1 draw, 8 knockouts.
Give us your take on Joshua vs Martin, Selby vs Hunter, plus the rest of the Matchroom Boxing card in the comments.