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Joshua Dethrones Martin in 2; Selby Decisions Hunter

By Jason Pribila: When it was announced that Anthony Joshua would be fighting for his first major title, British Boxing fans needed only 90 seconds to sell out the O2 Arena. On Saturday Night, Joshua needed only three times that amount of time to knock out the anonymous Charles Martin to become the new IBF titlist.


For those boxing fans who have yet to thaw to the heavyweight division after going into hibernation at some point during the Decade of Klitschko, the time is again now to embrace the glamour division.


While Joshua was impressive, the fact is that he is far from a finished product. That being said, he has an Olympic Gold Medal, size, speed, power, and a humble demeanor that will allow him to be embraced in the UK and around the world

“I ain’t gonna get too carried away because there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Joshua said following the fight.


“With people like Haye calling me out, (and) Tyson Fury calling me out. I need to improve, if I’m going to maintain and keep pushing at a high level.”


Joshua has a title, he is a bona fide ticket seller, and he has a solid promoter behind him. On Saturday night, he also showed a TV friendly style that has been missing from the division for many years.


The only question coming into the fight would be to see how Joshua would react to facing a southpaw for the first time as a professional. Well, it did not take long until he unleashed the top weapon against a southpaw, a straight right hand.


From the moment Martin stepped into the ring wearing a pair of trunks that appeared at least a size too small, he seemed to be there simply to hand deliver the IBF title that he was awarded after his last bout. Martin never tried to establish his own jab, and his lack of head movement made him a fairly stationary target in the opening round that was won by Joshua.


More of the same in the second frame until a huge right hand floored Martin, who made It to his feet at the count of eight. He remained upright until the next big right sent him to the canvas for the second and final time. While Martin made it to his knees, he allowed the count to make it to ten before he stood up.


The official time of the stoppage was 1:32 in Round 2.


With the victory Joshua improves to 16-0, 16 KO. Martin’s record falls to 23-1-1, 21 KO.


While we are not about to reenter the early 90’s when Don King put together a tournament to unify heavyweight titles. We are at an era where we have big, powerful, athletic fighters who all seem willing to take risks in order to find out who will earn the right to walk the Earth being known as the “Baddest Man on the Planet”.

Selby Gets off Floor to Decision Hunter:

Lee Selby (23-1, 8KO) was eager to get back into the ring after an admittedly subpar performance against Fernando Montiel.  On Saturday night he had that opportunity against Philadelphia’s Eric Hunter (21-4, 11 KO).


Midway thru the second round Selby found himself on the floor after getting dropped by a Hunter left hook.


If Selby had any doubts in his own ability, they would have been present as Selby was being asked to walk toward the referee after beating the ten count.   The minute between rounds two and three proved to be enough time for Selby to clear his head, and put adversity in his rearview.


Beginning with round three, and continuing throughout the bout, Selby proved to be the mentally superior fighter.   He came forward putting pressure on Hunter.  The slick Hunter would land a straight single punch or two, but he was never able to sustain momentum, or deter Selby from coming forward.


In round eight, Hunter finally decided to put his foot on the gas, and for the first time he was forcing Selby to fight off his back foot.  Hunter landed a pair of right hands that again hurt Selby.   However, just when the momentum started to shift, Hunter landed a left slightly below the belt line.


Although there was nothing vicious about the punch, Hunter had acted immaturely when he was previously warned about keeping his punches up.   The reaction of Hunter and not Selby seemed to leave the referee with no choice but to deduct a point from Hunter.


While it seemed doubtful that Hunter would have been able to rally down the stretch, fight fans will never know because a second point was taken from Hunter after an “excuse me” left hand that landed on the belt line.


The two points that were deducted from Hunter eliminated any chance he would have at winning a decision.   He would now need to knock Selby down and out in order to win a title.  That would be a tough task, but the fact he would have to do so without being able to risk another punch to the body made the task impossible.


In the end Selby was rightly ruled as the unanimous winner.   The low blows should not take away from a gutty performance in which Selby looked good  against a guy people rarely look good against.


As for Hunter, he will no doubt blame the referee from robbing him of his title shot.  The fact remains that when things don’t go Hunter’s way in the ring, he crumbles mentally.   That has hurt him throughout his career, and it hurt him today after waiting 11 years to finally get his opportunity.


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He could be reached


for questions or comments at; or followed on @PribsBoxing. 


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