By Daniel Ranger-Holt
The pressure heaped upon the broad shoulders of Anthony Joshua carries a weight so immense; I almost feel the enormity myself each time I watch him fight. There’s a lot riding on this boy.
We have an Olympic gold metallist, In shape; mainstream appeal; 7 wins 7 knockouts, and has yet to hear the bell for round three. Impressive, admirable and an unenviable amount of hope pinned to each of his appearances.
Matt Skelton 28(23)-8 was penciled in as the challenge for Joshua at this level. Skelton won’t waste your time and engage his opponents with technical wizardry, but will with pleasure offer a slightly ungainly pressure and an enjoyable brutish bullying type of fight. Skelton usually starts well, a fighter acutely aware of his own strengths and weaknesses, preferring to hone those strengths in favor of polishing said deficiencies. Life’s too short right? Ya man’s not a youngster.
Skelton is a bag of fun, after refusing to touch gloves with Joshua to open the bout, we’re witness to a cautious waiting game. The formalities done with, Skelton literally jumps on top of Joshua and somewhere within the scuffle connects a right hand. Joshua is indifferent to the shot, but it lands; perhaps a beacon to inspire The Bedford Bear.
More than one caveman’s club swing from Skelton seems to scrape through, but after shaking off Skelton’s attempts to shorten any distance, that piercing jab of Joshua’s is finally let free off the leash. It’s a dangerous weapon, he exhibits something resembling near mastery of it.
Into the 2nd and while there’s a lot of tying up, cumbersome street fight type of attacking from Skelton; some roughing up inside, this is too uncultured for a sharpshooter like Joshua. This manner of fight from Matt is simply inadequate, and presents too many gaps, too early. Skelton fought like a man convinced he could win, at 47 though, against such an over qualified powerhouse his chances were slim indeed.
Joshua starts stepping forward, the initial amusing round that previously played out was accepted, merely for collating data. A tight right hook belting Skelton around his dipped head, folds him to the canvas; a face first dive, a tumble that borders near some kind of uncomfortable viewing. Regardless of any count, after that shot, all present would have agreed, the fight was done with.
He barely makes it to his feet, hopelessly dazed. A sustained attack from Joshua while Skelton is still attempting to balance himself upon wooden legs, regardless of how accurate, is enough for the Ref to end things.
Another 2nd round knock out for Joshua, the test turned out to be one of his easiest fights, against a backdrop of increasingly less challenging confrontations. The precarious tightrope walk that is – balancing his growth as a boxer, against competition that leaves him sated, is one I will leave Eddie Hearn to traverse.
Joshua can have it all, his matchmaking right now, at this early stage absolutely crucial. The next two for the chopping blocks have already been announced. Yaroslav Zavorotnyi 16(14)-7 on the 30th of August, a man who seemed to identify essential stamina issues within David Price over a ten round period.
And the 11th of October, where he will stand face to face with the cult UK legend Micheal Sprott 42(17)-22. Both arguably respectable fights for a fighter at his level, also both of them I expect to be sadly dispatched early by an Olympic Gold Medalist who is looking like a potential world heavy weight champion in the making.
Let the boy have fun, he can gorge on these next two with enthused gluttony. Then afterwards, the size of the meal needs to increase!
© Wingy 2014