Anthony Joshua vs Charles Martin & Lee Selby vs Eric Hunter
BY KID HERSH
First up for the big fight day today was Showtime Boxing International from the O2 Arena in Greenwich London. Lee Selby (22-1, 8ko's) was the pre main event, defending his IBF title against Eric Hunter (21-3, 11ko's). In the first round Selby outworked Hunter, coming forward and throwing shots while Hunter was showing a good defense in making Selby miss but was not responding with many counters. In the second round Hunter was looking very frustrated but then a shocker came when two minutes into the round Hunter landed a left hook to the temple as Selby was getting overly aggressive. The shot put him down because he didn't see it coming and the place was in an uproar - even I did not expect that! Selby got up, looking unhurt, and continued boxing and coming forward as he recouped rather quickly from what is I believe the first time he has hit the canvas in his career. Selby came back in the third round as he started pumping his jab and getting his reflexes back in tune on Hunter who again just like the first round has a low punch output going while getting outworked again. The fourth round was a close one, with Hunter scoring a right hand a little over two minutes into the round that buckled Selby's legs momentarily, further showing he can hurt Selby. The fifth round was all Selby as he got his footwork going and picked apart Hunter who was again looking dejected as he took flush right hands and seemed to not know how to respond except trying to get away from his attacker. This continued in the coming rounds until in the seventh round Hunter decided to get more aggressive which worked as he landed some good shots - notably a right hand followed up by a nice left hook to Selby's head, but it's just too few and far between compared to Selby's continuous movement and work rate. In the eighth round Hunter got more and more dejected as his body language showed that of a fighter that just simply cannot win. He was deducted a point for low blows after being warned many times but in his defense I think this referee is doing a terrible job - interjecting himself in the action far too much and also these low blows are mostly on the belt line not noticeably down south. In the ninth round it was more terrible refereeing from (find out who) as Hunter was again deducted a point from a clearly legal blow (announcers backing up the ridiculousness) and then brought over to his corner and told that he was going home for the next legal blow err I mean low blow. It's just plain ridiculous at this point because Hunter cannot even throw body shots without the fear of being disqualified. Now note that I'm not saying he is the better man here - I believe he would be losing this fight regardless - but that's my opinion due to the fact that it is hard to judge the mental aspect of a fighter's thinking when he clearly is held within such a tight, small box of what he can and cannot do with a referee breathing down his neck and watching his every move like a hawk as he looks to jump on anything at all you do. This was really the story of the fight going down the stretch, with Selby edging the rounds but Hunter landing some good shots while also fighting the referee. Selby would retain his title in a fight that wasn't too bad - Hunter included - but the referee really marred up and got too involved in.
The previous fight was a re-airing so now we move to the live main event that everyone has been looking for as Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15ko's) looks to grab a world title from Charles Martin (23-1, 21ko's). In the first round it was very very slow for the first half until Joshua opened up with right hands consecutively one after another and they all landed - causing Martin to be trigger shy and looking like he did not have an answer, a sort of deer in the headlights type of look. In the second round it was exactly the same - Martin just could not get away from the right hand and got nailed with one that put him on his rear. The O2 went absolutely nuts, roaring on its feet, and Martin got up only to get nailed from the exact same shot. He was smiling (as was Joshua - knowing this was an easy fight) and Martin got counted out as the referee waved off the fight when Martin jumped up at the count of teen - too late. Joshua said in the post fight that he was going to go back to the dressing room and hit the pads, due to "only being a quarter of the way there" and "not getting too carried away". It was arguably the best post fight interview I have ever heard. He said to get behind all boxers - something amazing for the sport and exactly what we need to hear on the daily. Amazing speech that might even steal the show to hardcore fans such as myself.