“I don’t know a heavyweight in the world who could go three rounds with Anthony Joshua. None.”
That was Barry Hearn -founder of Matchroom Sports and father to it’s current head Eddie- talking to iFL TV after Anthony Joshua scored his 14th consecutive knockout inside three rounds.
AJ trampled Gary Cornish in the opening session at the top at the 02 Arena bill in London last Saturday, handing him his first defeat in twenty-two fights with an air of derision.
A minute in Joshua had parried a few jabs before connecting with a check left hook, which he followed up with an arcing right to cut Cornish’s strings, sending him falling to the canvas.
The inevitable flurry followed, and Cornish struggled to deflect the punches, eventually grabbing hold of his pursuer before taking a clean left to the jaw as he held on. Again he went down, and the referee waved it off when he saw the wobbly legs he rose on to answer the count at eight.
Hearn was emphatic in his praise of Matchroom’s most promising young talent, saying the quality he has shown so far in a two-year professional career is enough to rival any other fighter on the world.
“You saw what you saw. Let’s take nothing away from the other fella’. This fella’s dangerous. He’s a weapon of mass destruction.”
“It’s not the opponent; it’s the way he dealt with the opponent. You know, you throw a right hand like that over the top, then left hook-right hand inside; this is a quality fighter and if you don’t understand that you don’t understand heavyweight boxing. There is no one, no one on this planet who will survive with this young man.”
AJ is scheduled to fight for the vacant British title at the end of the year against his rival Dillian Whyte, who also won on the undercard.
Hearn seemed to take a little step back from his strong assertions when he realised he had just indirectly rubbished the chances of one of his son’s fighters. Though he has high hopes for what that fight can achieve in light of the personal rivalry they have developed.
“Let’s wait and see what Dillian Whyte can do on December 12th.”
“It’s a huge fight I think it should sell out in a day. This is massive for British boxing.”
Whyte is also undefeated at 16-0 with 13 KO’s, and this last win came over Brian Minto, who was 41-9 in the lower leagues but still came in with a huge edge in experience. He has recently linked up with Wladimir Klitschko’s coach Jonathan Banks and is intent on making the kind of progressions many of the public expect from Joshua.
Joshua vs. Whyte is the most important outing each participant will have had up to that point, and the ramifications of the outcome could be devastating for Joshua if it doesn’t go his way.
The UK has not had a heavyweight with this much promise in over 20 years, and his path will be heavily obstructed with a loss to a less celebrated rival. If he is as good as most people believe he will smash through Whyte on his way to world level.
But Whyte doesn’t come across as the type who will show up just to lose. Everything about him says he is a proud man who will not take perceived disrespect lightly. After their verbal exchanges through social media, he will be a fired up ball of contempt when he steps in with AJ, and will probably be the biggest challenge the gold medalist has had yet.