Charles Martin (23-0-1 21 KOs) will make the first defence of his IBF World heavyweight championship when he meets Britain’s Anthony Joshua (15-0 15 KOs) this Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

The American won the belt, which was stripped from Tyson Fury last year, when he beat Vyacheslav Glazkov in January on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s WBC defence after his opponent retired due to a knee injury in the third round.

He now travels across the Atlantic to make a voluntary defence of his belt against one of the biggest prospects in world boxing.

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Anthony Joshua has demolished all before him in his 15 professional outings to date, and is currently as short as 1/7 in the betting to win the IBF title this Saturday night.

His last fight with Dillian Whyte last December showcased Joshua’s ability to respond from being hurt inside the ring when going on to stop Whyte inside the seventh round with a chilling uppercut.

That outing will have taught Joshua plenty in terms of experience and it is a fight many expect him to improve significantly from. There was plenty of emotional input during the bout, which will not be the case this weekend. Joshua has the opportunity to dethrone a champion using a level head, and a strict game-plan.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist has been built as Britain’s next boxing breakout star and victory this weekend will elevate him to be one of the country’s leading sportsmen.

His fierce jab and strong power makes him a threat against any heavyweight in the world. Joshua also boasts considerable speed in his punches, an attribute Martin does not match.

Charles Martin has contested 24 professional fights in his career thus far, in which his most standout victory came against a retired Glazkov last time out. Saturday’s stage will be the most intense he will have ever been presented with in his life.

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The bright lights of London’s O2 Arena can be an intimidating setting and Joshua has the clear edge in that department by experiencing such fighting atmospheres. Many believe Martin is making the trip to the UK in order to ‘cash in’ on the championship he won in January.

As a fighter with young children, Charles will have one eye on the mouthwatering cheque he will receive post-fight, but nonetheless he is a fighting with a fighting background and will certainly come to win.

He is an awkward southpaw who possesses a lethal left hand, but it is his defence that is his downfall. In his latest outing he proved he can be vulnerable to a striking right-hand, a punch that Joshua excels with.

There’s no doubting that both men will need to step up to secure victory here, and I feel Joshua’s outstanding amateur experience will favour him in whichever way to bout unfolds.

The Olympic champion is renowned for starting fast and I see that occurring once again here. Joshua’s speed, power and punch variety will see him have success inside the opening exchanges, and I fancy him to get the job done as soon as those openings appear.

Minus the IBF title, then this is the perfect stepping stone for Anthony Joshua and his well-structured career. Like many, I expect him to become Britain’s latest world champion on Saturday evening.


Anthony Joshua Round 1-3 – 2/1 (SkyBet)