If he didn't already, New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker now knows the extent of the challenge facing him in a potential world title fight against Anthony Joshua after the Englishman today knocked out Charles Martin in the second round to win the IBF world heavyweight title.
Clean. Efficient. AJ World Champion. https://t.co/mY0huKQI6L— Adam Sweeney (@AdamWSweeney) April 9, 2016
Parker predicted a win for Joshua by knockout at the O2 Arena in London and the Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist did it in breathtaking style, twice knocking down American southpaw Martin with the notorious power in his right hand.
Martin, who beat the referee's count for the first one, failed to do so for the second, and the partisan crowd of more than 20,000, who were chanting throughout the short fight, erupted.
Joshua's win sets up a potential meeting with Parker should the South Aucklander beat Carlos Takam at Manukau's Vodafone Events Centre on May 21. The fight will likely be in London and the atmosphere, going by this morning's, is likely to be feverish.
Parker's promoter David Higgins today said the result was exactly what he and the rest of Parker's team wanted.
"Joshua is a right hander, he's orthodox, whereas Martin as a southpaw would always have presented different challenges," Higgins said. "We would be quite comfortable facing Joshua because the British media will now talk him up as being the best thing since Lennox Lewis when really he is a lumbering heavyweight. He is slow, Joseph Parker is way quicker."
If the result came as little surprise to 24-year-old Parker, Joshua's complete domination might have. The 26-year-old Joshua gave notice of his power in the first round against the self-styled "Prince" Charles, who walked to the ring in a crown, landing three solid blows with his right hand.
None of them struck flush, but when they did in the second round Martin had no answer.
He was sent sprawling twice and while he appeared aware of referee Jean Pierre van Imschoot's count for the second one he was too slow to react and the official had no choice but to award the fight to Joshua by KO.
Martin left the ring defeated, losing in his first defence of the title he won almost by default against the injured Vyacheslav Glazkov, but also considerably wealthier. Boxing is on a high in Britain at the moment, and with Joshua and Tyson Fury the holders of three of the world's heavyweight titles, it is also a very lucrative industry to be involved in.
"It's interesting because there will probably be some negativity about Charles Martin being easy and so on, but a few days ago he was this big, dangerous southpaw and I ain't fought no southpaws," Joshua said afterwards. "There is danger in that southpaw stance and the fact that he is champion gives him confidence but he was willing and brave enough to come to the lion's den so that says a lot about Charles Martin so big respect to him as well."
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said his man's next fight could be on July 9 at Wembley Stadium, however Tyson Fury will meet Wladimir Klitschko in a re-match in Manchester on that date so it wouldn't surprise if the date is shifted.
Boxing insiders suggest Joshua could fight a "tune-up" bout against the likes of American Eric Molina before a potential clash with Fury, Klitschko or Britain's David Haye.
If he retained his IBF title, Joshua's first mandatory defence would potentially be against Parker. If not, Parker would be mandatory challenger to whomever held the belt.