Anthony Joshua might struggle against the southpaw IBF Heavyweight champion
On April 9, 2016, American Charles Martin will attempt to defend his IBF heavyweight title belt against Anthony Joshua, at the O2 Arena. Martin defeated Vyacheslav Glazkov to claim the unattached IBF belt – which was stripped from Tyson Fury when he opted to rematch Klitschko instead of compete in a mandatory bout against Glazkov. The Glazkov-Martin fight ended in the third frame, with the American winning by technical knockout. Glazkov was forced to retire after hitting the canvas twice due to a knee injury (none were credited to Martin as knockdowns). Martin used his extra height and reach to gain centre ring, holding back his Ukrainian opponent. The heavyweight titles are divvied up between Tyson Fury (WBO and WBA), Martin (IBF), and Deontay Wilder (WBC).
Following Anthony Joshua’s knockout win over Dillian Whyte, it was heavily rumoured that he would continue to gradually increase the calibre of his opponents. David Haye and Dereck Chisora were said to be in contention, but Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, stressed that the aforementioned Brits would need to have something worthy of fighting for. AJ’s scheduled match against the IBF champion, this quickly, is a bit of a shock. But it’s a welcomed shock, as it will be the Englishman’s biggest challenge yet. 29-year-old ‘Prince’ Charles is 23-0-1, after starting his professional heavyweight career just 12 months before Joshua did. During his 15-0-0 pro record, Joshua has never faced a southpaw fighter – according to BoxRec – and as seen by the Klitschko-Fury fight, a southpaw can cause even the greatest of orthodox fighters some serious problems. Joshua got caught out by a couple of lefties from Whyte in the early rounds of their contest, so hopefully, he will have worked on his defence – as he said he would in a post-match interview.
BoxRec tells us that the current IBF champion is 6’5’’ with an 80’’ reach, a physical advantage that he often imposes on his opponents. But he won’t be able to utilise this as much against Joshua, who has an inch in height and two inches in reach on the American. However, Martin is well met against bigger foes; he’s defeated the likes of Tom Dallas and Rafael Pedro – who were taller with more reach – and Kertson Manswell, who had a further reach than ‘Prince’ Charles. This will be Charles Martin’s first fight away from the States. To silence the rowdy London crowd – and give himself a decent chance of victory – the American will need to come in hot to try and catch AJ out early. Whyte showed that the 2012 gold medallist can be rocked, but that you need to keep grinding, otherwise he will strike back, hard.
How’s it going to go?
As reported by BBC Sport both fighters recognise that this won’t be an easy fight, as both competitors are top boxers. Anthony Joshua: “I feel privileged to have the opportunity to turn that dream into reality. Martin is a great fighter and a hungry competitor so I am going to have to produce the performance of my career to claim that belt.” Charles Martin: “I’m world champion, so that doesn’t mean just sit back and make easy defences in the US. It means facing the biggest challenges out there.” The highly rated 26-year-old Brit has the upper hand coming into the fight; he’s bigger, far more athletic and is naturally the better boxer. But, the likelihood of Joshua coming away with the IBF title hinges on his ability to deal with the southpaw fighter. The fight can just as easily bring about Joshua’s first career loss if he can’t adapt to boxing the left-standing American champion.