Joshua snatches IBF heavyweight belt off Martin in 2nd round

By ROB HARRIS ,

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British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the IBF heavyweight title bout between US boxer Charles Martin and British boxer Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena in London.

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the IBF heavyweight title bout between US boxer Charles Martin and British boxer Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena in London. (Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Chasing greatness, Anthony Joshua is in a hurry.

In the second round of his 16th professional fight Saturday, Joshua overpowered Charles Martin after 92 seconds to seize the American's IBF heavyweight title in front of 20,000 home fans.

With his 16th knockout win, Joshua became a unique champion: the first reigning gold medalist in Olympic boxing's top weight division of super-heavyweight to win the world heavyweight title.

"There will probably be some negativity that Charles Martin was easy and so on," the 26-year-old Joshua said inside London's O2 Arena. "But a few days ago he was this big dangerous southpaw."

Not anymore. Not after this first loss of his professional career. The 29-year-old Martin (23-1-1) had only won the vacated belt in January but conceded it in his first defense.

"His right hand was fast I didn't see the shot," Martin said. "That cost the fight."

Now Joshua will be known far beyond London as the brutal Briton with the devastatingly powerful right hand that knocked down Martin twice in that second round.

"I ain't going to get too carried away," Joshua said. "I've got to keep on improving. I've got David Haye calling me out, Tyson Fury calling me out. I need to improve if I'm going to maintain and keep pushing at a higher level."

The IBF title was previously won by Fury against Wladimir Klitschko, but the Briton was stripped of it for refusing to make an immediate defense. Fury tweeted that Joshua "looked slow ponderous, & still looked like a bodybuilder, let me slay the lamb."

Joshua responded to his compatriot: "I'm going to walk through Tyson Fury when's he's ready. I'm not messing around, believe you me."

Joshua is determined to make some noise in the heavyweight division. Just like his loyal following.

Almost four years after Joshua clinched the Olympic title for at the London Games, the venue was different in the capital but there was the same raucous home support to see another dominant victory by the fighter.

Martin had made a brash arrival in the ring, sporting a bejeweled crown but his bravado was not matched by his performance against the humble, ultimately more clinical contender.

After being dropped by Joshua in the second round, Martin got back up but was immediately grounded by another Joshua right. This time, Martin didn't beat the count.

"I know if I've got enough power to hurt him once, if I keep my shape and keep on doing the same things to hurt him first time, I just knew I'd be able to get to him sooner or later," Joshua said.

All 16 wins since his pro debut in 2013 have been by KO and Joshua hope he has proved he's "not just some beach body boxer."

"I come to knock people out," Joshua said. "Every heavyweight has got power but it's about speed and precision."

The first defense of his title could be three months away, with plans for a July 9 bout — the night of Klitschko's rematch against Fury, the WBA and WBO champion.

"Getting there is one thing, now maintaining it will be harder so I need to be a bit more disciplined," Joshua said. "We've got more to go. Probably when I retire I will be happy but as I'm still fighting, I've got to put this behind me."

-AP

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