In just two and a half years as a professional, the 26 year-old prepares to fight for the world championship at 200 pounds plus after cleaning up domestically against home city rival Dillian Whyte last December. On that night, Joshua was rocked to his boots by Whyte, who for all intents and purposes is not a world class fighter.
Eddie Hearn’s decision to accept a challenge by Charles Martin raised plenty of eyebrows when first announced but Joshua now gets the chance to prove his handler right.
Is ‘AJ’ really ready to face the best around? The answer would almost certainly have been no if the champion calling was Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, but Hearn snatched at the opportunity when the offer came from unknown quantity Martin.
Martin is in his prime at 29, unbeaten himself in 24 contests, but only has a victory over blown up cruiserweight Vyacheslav Glazkov to gauge just how good the southpaw really is.
Bookmakers in the UK have already reported a staggering 75% of bets being placed on Martin knocking Joshua out, whilst nobody in their right mind foresees this encounter making it to the final bell.
An awkward southpaw, Martin looked flabby on the scales – as he has always done, which is leading to some tipping the chiselled physique of Joshua to be way too much for the St. Louis puncher to handle.
Truth is, Joshua may have Frank Bruno syndrome to deal with due to carrying so much muscle and could only have a good six rounds in him to take Martin out. Nobody is doubting that if Joshua catches Martin flush regularly the fight could be over early, but it’s how he reacts to being hit himself, as only Whyte has really been able to land clean so far – with worrying results.
David Price was in a similar situation when facing Tony Thompson for the first time and we all know what happened there, so if Martin stands up to Joshua’s ferocious power it could be curtains for Hearn’s golden egg.
The first two rounds are going to be Joshua’s best opportunity to claim a defining career win, whilst Martin should have more gas in the tank in the second half of the fight and would be the favourite for me from the midway point.