It didn't take long. In his 16th pro fight, Anthony Joshua scored his 16th knockout win, stopping Charles Martin to win the IBF heavyweight title today in London, dropping the defending titleholder twice in the second round to end things in short order.
Joshua (16-0, 16 KO) is now a world heavyweight champion of sorts at age 26, just three and a half years removed from his gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics in London, and already one of the biggest drawing cards in boxing. He got past Martin (23-1-1, 21 KO) as easily as he has anyone else, from Hrvoje Kisicek to Dillian Whyte, and the hype train keeps rolling on.
It has to be said -- apparently it has to be, anyway -- that the real world heavyweight champion remains Tyson Fury, who holds the WBA and WBO titles, and is recognized as the lineal champion. In fact, the belt that Joshua won tonight was stripped from Fury and put up between Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov in January, and that fight ended on an injury in the third round. So yes, this is a paper title. But what's very clear is that Anthony Joshua has a lot of people excited about boxing, and for a sport that desperately needs new stars, that's very encouraging.
We will have to see going forward how he does against better opposition. Martin, despite being "world champion," was an untested fighter. Nobody is unbeatable, and nobody beats all the world's best fighters in a few rounds. It just won't happen that way. How good he is remains to be seen. But he's inspiring a vocal fan base that wants to see him fight, and because of that, he's quickly becoming a true event fighter.