Anthony Joshua stayed unbeaten and in impressive fashion today, smashing veteran Denis Bakhtov in the second round to improve to 9-0, all wins coming by way of stoppage.
Joshua, 24, used his rather enormous size advantage, plus his freshness in youth, to overpower and outclass the 34-year-old Bakhtov (38-10, 25 KO), who has seen better days. While on paper this looks a nice step up, Bakhtov realistically never stood a chance, as Joshua, even without much experience, is simply too big and too talented to lose to someone like Bakhtov, a career fringe contender at best. Nothing in Bakhtov's past performances -- 15 years' worth -- indicated he was any level of threat to Joshua. In other words, while this can be seen as a "step up," it wasn't, really. But that's just how this blogger idiot sees it.
Next up for Joshua will be Michael Sprott, a 39-year-old battler who was knocked out in 2:55 by old Kali Meehan in his last outing, the final of the "Super 8" heavyweight tournament in New Zealand. Sprott has done well in tournaments featuring three round fights, which is probably good, since three rounds is about all he seems likely to last with Joshua, if the fight happens.
And this is about where Joshua should still be in his pro career, too. The guys he's beating aren't terribly far off from the likes of Alex Leapai, Francesco Pianeta, and Mariusz Wach, and hell, those are three of Wladimir Klitschko's last four opponents.
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Lee Selby improved to 20-1 (8 KO) with a fairly dominant win over Australia's Joel Brunker (27-1, 15 KO), stopping the visitor in the ninth round. Brunker never established himself offensively in the fight, as Selby seemed the quicker man and able to hurt his foe, which he did for the final time in round nine with a left hook to the body, followed by a finishing assault before referee Marcus McDonnell stepped in. Selby likely will find himself in the world title picture very soon, as he's already won Commonwealth, British, and European titles.
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Tyler Goodjohn scored a minor upset over Ricky Boylan in a terrific 10-round junior welterweight fight, picking up the vacant English title on majority decision scores of 96-94, 96-94, and 96-96. BLH had it 96-94 for Goodjohn (11-3, 4 KO), who went about even with Boylan (12-1, 4 KO) through six rounds before taking over in crunch time. Boylan did make a strong charge in round 12, and pretty clearly won that frame, but it was too little, too late. The 26-year-old Boylan will have to try and get back on track from here, and a rematch between the two would certainly be welcome. This was an exciting, well-matched fight.
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John Ryder had an easy night with short notice opponent Theophilus Tetteh, stopping the undersized Ghanaian in the fifth round. Tetteh (16-7-2, 9 KO) had won seven straight fights coming in, but against lousy opposition, and he was no match for Ryder (19-1, 10 KO), who is a legitimate prospect and a young man who gave Billy Joe Saunders a damn good test in 2013. Ryder will look for something more significant after this, obviously.