It was “Prince” Charles Martin was entered the ring at London’s O2 Arena wearing a crown Saturday, but it was Anthony Joshua who exited it as the newest monarch of boxing.
Joshua dropped the defending champion twice seconds apart in the second round to thrill the sellout crowd of 20,000, leading referee Jean-Pierre Van Imschoot to wave an end to the bout at 1:32 of the round.
With the victory, Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) became just the third reigning Olympic champion to win a professional heavyweight title, joining Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) and Leon Spinks. The 26-year-old Brit also joined countryman Tyson Fury as one of three current heavyweight champions, along with American Deontay Wilder.
Charles Martin (23-1-1, 21 KOs) was making his first defense of the title he won in January with a third-round stoppage of Vyacheslav Glazkov, but the 6-foot-5 American southpaw never threatened the 6-foot-6 Joshua, who turned to the crowd when the fight was stopped and shrugged at the ease with which he scored the knockout.
Following the win, Joshua said he would take on all comers in the heavyweight division.
“I am a very humble person and yet I truly believe I will become the undisputed world heavyweight champion in due course,” he said. “I would face [British former champion] David Haye tomorrow if I could. I know Tyson Fury wants a fight, too, and I’d take that and then there is Deontay Wilder. All of them; bring them all on.
“I have a job to do and that is to be the best heavyweight in the world, and I am only a quarter of the way there. I will beat those three, just as I beat Charles Martin, line them up one after the other.”
Joshua went on to praise Martin for traveling to London to risk his world title in a hostile environment.
“You have to give Martin a lot of respect for doing that,” Joshua said. “Fair play to him because he could have stayed in America and not backed himself. He was strong enough to take the fight and now I have beaten him as decisively as you can.
“He is a very good fighter and he will come again, but tonight was my night and I showed the world what I am all about. This is a journey though which I started years ago and I don’t feel I am anywhere near done yet. I have so many ambitions to achieve and this is just the start. This fists are going to do a lot more talking in the next couple of years.”
Both fighters came out cautiously to start the fight, but Joshua gained the upper hand late in the first round by landing a couple of stinging right hands.
Things quickly got worse for Martin in the second round. The 29-year-old southpaw threw a lazy jab that Joshua was able to slip and counter with a straight right hand that caught Martin square on the jaw and dropped him. Just seconds later, Martin missed with another jab, and once again Joshua retaliated with a devastating right that dropped the American, who grinned in disbelief as he sat up on the canvas.
Martin looked at Van Imschoot and finally jumped to his feet at the end of the 10-count, but the referee waved the fight off as Martin argued he could continue.
Martin, who entered the ring wearing an oversize crown before the fight, looked forlorn as he trudged back to his corner after experiencing his first defeat.
“I waited until the last second before getting up and the referee could have carried it on, but they were two good shots by Anthony Joshua,” Martin said. “He is a very good boxer and I’m disappointed I didn’t last. I will regroup and come back stronger from this. This is not the end. I am disappointed, but I have to take it.”
For a complete look at Martin vs Joshua, visit our fight page.