As we said in the preview, Britain loves a heavyweight. Martin/Joshua sold out 20,000 tickets in 90 seconds and is likely to push 750k-1,000,000 PPV’s in the UK below. The crowd at the 02 was as raucous a crowd as you get in England, and that’s saying something.
Less than 2 rounds later between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, the UK holds all of the baubles at heavyweight except for Deontay Wilder’s WBC strap, though surely it’s a matter of time before those worlds collide and someone ends up unifying.
What to say about this fight? It lasted 4 1/2 minutes. The fighters started cagily, aware that in heavyweight boxing it takes one shot to change everything. Martin was unfortunately flat footed and showed pretty much zero head movement, presenting a pretty easy target for Joshua, so much so, it took just 90 second for Joshua to land the first of 5 sharp right hands that pretty much let us know what was to come.
Martin is no doubt a tough cookie and took those shots well, but come the second round a huge right hand floored Martin who literally looked like he didn’t know what had hit him. a second KD came within the next few punches and whilst Martin smiled and looked like he was going to get up and get stuck in, he failed to beat the count and Joshua instantly became one of the most famous sportsmen in Britain, he will be front page news tomorrow and he disposed of a belt holder in spectacular fashion on US television, then gave a flawless media friendly interview afterwards, and with Showtime already throwing their support behind their “new Tyson”, Joshua looks to have a very bright and lucrative future ahead of him.
Martin made life changing money tonight, and it’s easy to forget that this is the first time he’d fought on a card like this let alone headlined it, whereas Joshua is used to huge fights and being the centre of attention as well as having the major tournament experience. Its hard not to feel like he just felt like he didn’t want to take any more punishment and skip out of there with the enormous paycheck he earned by coming to Britain. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter gambled big, in a move that isn’t the usual Matchroom way, he paid for Martin to come to England and paid well over the odds for it – nobody knew much about Martin, even though he held the belt, and you could argue that it was a risky strategy especially in the heavyweights, but Hearn believed in his charge and the rewards will be enormous compared to tonights payouts. There was talk immediately after the fight of Joshua fighting at the 80,000 capacity Wembley Stadium on July 9th, but that might just be Hearn trolling Fury and rival promoter Frank Warren who won the rights to screen Fury/Klitschko 2 over Hearn’s partners Sky Sports on the same date. Whatever date Joshua does choose to go though, it’s stadiums all the way forward for him now, until he jumps to Vegas or MSG inevitably, but with plenty of huge nights in the UK ahead.
Suddenly, the heavyweight division looks interesting again, Joshua, Fury, Wilder, potentially Wlad / Povetkin still figuring, not to mention King Kong Luis Ortiz. The big men are coming back and on tonights evidence, Joshua is the standout prospect for superstardom. How significant tonight was is hard to tell after less than 4 minutes of action and barely a punch landed by Martin, we’ll have to see what becomes of him and indeed Joshua going forward, but for now the spotlight is on AJ and he’ll enjoy every minute of it, as will the thousands of Brits celebrating and all the pub landlords who will undoubtably run out of beer tonight.