Joshua targets more success as win signals a fresh phase

Ross McLean
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BRITISH heavyweight Anthony Joshua insists he will bide his time but expects to be competing for more honours in the near future after starting the next stage of his career with victory against veteran fighter Denis Bakhtov at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old claimed the WBC international heavyweight title in quick-fire time after stopping Bakhtov just a minute into the second round and taking his professional record to 9-0, with Michael Sprott his next opponent on 22 November.

While a bout with David Haye has been mooted, a showdown with David Price next year is more likely and Joshua is adamant he can reach lofty boxing heights.

“One step at a time, this is phase two,” said Joshua. “In year one, we went from Emanuele Leo to Mr Bakhtov for the international title.

“Phase two, you can kind of see what route we are going in. Michael Sprott is first and, by the end of it, I’m sure we will be fighting for another belt or some sort of British title. That’s what I’m looking forward to already.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn also banged the Joshua drum, believing the Watford-born fighter can dominate and devastate the heavyweight division in equal measure.

“This is the most special individual I have seen in a long time,” said Hearn. “He is gong to clear out the heavyweight division and unify it.

“Every ranking body is going to want him in their rankings because he is an absolute superstar, not just of boxing, but of sport.”