Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua: Preview & Prediction
At The O2 Arena, London, on Saturday, April 9, Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) will make the first defense of his IBF Heavyweight title against 2012 Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs).
The fight will see two undefeated heavyweights battling for a portion of the world Heavyweight championship.
Martin will be fighting outside the United States for the first time in his career, in what will be the maiden defense of his IBF title. The challenger, Joshua, will be experiencing his first world championship bout in only his 16th fight.
The fight will take place in a venue that is rapidly becoming a second home for Joshua, having sold out his last fight there in December 2015.
Regardless of the title at stake, which was stripped from Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) swiftly after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs), the fight represents an exciting matchup between two upcoming fighters.
The winner will walk away with a Heavyweight title, of course, which will put them in a position to be a part of colossal fights in the future.
Tale of the Tape
|Charles Martin||Anthony Joshua|
|Record||23-0-1, 21 KOs||15-0, 15 KOs|
|Hometown||Carson, California||Watford, UK|
Physique is one way both Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua correlate. Both have similar heights, with Joshua being one inch taller at 6’6”. The reach of both fighters is also similar, with Joshua having an 82” reach, as opposed to Martin’s 80” reach.
Furthermore, there is not a substantial weight difference either, with Martin weighing in four pounds heavier than Joshua, in each of their previous fights.
As a consequence, size advantage will not be a key to victory for either fighter, due to their physical similarities. However, the stance of Martin (southpaw) may be a problem for the challenger, who has not faced a southpaw in his professional career yet.
In terms of fights, Martin has had 24 bouts, compared to Joshua’s 15, though neither has fought a stellar name.
A big talking point that stems from this contest is the IBF title, a championship that was controversially taken away from the aforementioned champion, Tyson Fury.
Shortly after stripping Fury, the IBF would call for Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov to fight for the vacant title. As a consequence, this left Fury with the WBA Super, WBO and lineal titles.
What’s more, the IBF was immersed in more controversy, when Glazkov pulled out of the fight in the third round, after suffering an injury that was not caused by a punch.
However, Martin was awarded a TKO victory, as well as the IBF belt. Due to the short duration of the fight, Martin was eager to get back in the ring as soon as possible, and wanted Joshua next.
Irrespective of these incidents, the current landscape of the heavyweight division is exciting, with unification’s, and fights against big names, being imminent for the winner of Martin-Joshua.
Additionally, the winner will soon have to deal with a mandatory challenger, which will be determined by a fight between New Zealand’s Joseph Parker and France’s Carlos Takam.
Strengths for Each Man
Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
In his fight against Vyacheslav Glazkov, Charles Martin showed that he is an intellectual fighter. Martin exemplified this strength by maintaining distance between himself and his opponent.
Whenever Glazkov was in range to land a shot, Martin showed his judgement of distance by taking a step back and evading his opponent’s shots. The fight was short, but Martin showed that he is canny in the ring.
Another tendency of Martin is to jab his opponent at various speeds, sometimes landing and sometimes missing. This acts as a rangefinder for his powerful left hand, and the diverse speeds of the jab keeps the opponent guessing.
Additionally, this can impair the vision of the opponent, and makes them less aware of the incoming left hand that may land clean.
An impressive attribute of Anthony Joshua is his speed when throwing combinations, particularly against hurt fighters against the ropes. Joshua is unforgiving when his opponent shows weakness, and unloads a barrage of accurate shots to break them down.
This links to another strength, which is his ability to “close the show” and finish a fight when the opportunity arises.
Having as many knockouts as wins is a great indication of the solidity of Joshua’s punches, albeit against limited opposition. However, his last fight against Dillian Whyte showed that he could still vanquish opponents later on in the fight.
This is a strength he may need against Martin, whose defense may take longer to breach due to the conflicting southpaw stance.
Weaknesses for Each Man
One thing that was noticeable in the Vyacheslav Glazkov fight was Charles Martin’s habit of keeping the right hand low occasionally. At times, the much smaller Glazkov exploited this by landing shots.
If Martin repeats this tendency against Anthony Joshua, it would be safe to assume that it would be a costly mistake. Joshua would undoubtedly attack defensive lapses with his speed and power.
Another potential weakness of Martin is his shots being lethargic sometimes, specifically the jab.
As mentioned above, although varying the speed of the jab is good at confusing the opponent, throwing a “lazy” jab and not retracting his hand back to his chin quickly will give Joshua a chance to land a counter shot. Martin cannot give Joshua any excuse to land his crude right hand.
A concern with Joshua is whether he can compete for 12 rounds, which is more of a possibility now that he is fighting for championships. From the fourth round of the Dillian Whyte bout, Joshua’s movement and intensity seemed to have disappeared.
As a result, he slowed down substantially, and was flat-footed. This is a problem, especially if an opponent stands up to his power.
There’s no doubt Joshua is dangerous early in a fight, but it is still undecided whether he can be as efficient if a fight goes into the championship rounds. It is still unconfirmed whether Martin can endure 12 rounds either, having only gone 10 rounds once.
Though, Martin is less active than Joshua during rounds, which may help him if the fight goes late, as he exerts less energy.
The Winner and Why
For this fight, I am picking Anthony Joshua by knockout, namely in the middle rounds of the fight.
At first, I feel Charles Martin’s aforementioned judgement of distance will keep Joshua at bay for a short while, causing the first few rounds to be tentative and tactical.
Both fighters will continue to decipher one another and wait for the right opportunity to land their trusted power punches.
However, approaching the middle rounds of the fight, Martin’s cited defensive lapses will come into play, and be exploited by Joshua, who is explosive and fast in his attack.
I feel Martin may throw a sluggish jab, and Joshua will immediately respond with a right hand that will shake Martin. Joshua will most likely then unload an array of shots, which causes a stoppage.