Many fans in the boxing world are looking for the next great heavyweight to succeed Wladimir Klitschko. Though he's had just three professional fights, Anthony Joshua (3-0, 3 KO) looks like a solid candidate for the title.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from England will be in the ring for his fourth pro fight on Saturday at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
His opponent is also short on experience but is looking for a big upset. Dorian Darch (7-2, 1 KO) hails from Wales, so he should have a few fans in attendance, but most will probably be cheering for the more popular Joshua.
This fight, which is scheduled for six rounds, was originally supposed to take place in December, but an injury to Joshua forced it to be pushed back.
That only partially slowed the big man's momentum. If Joshua continues to win, he'll undoubtedly get an opportunity to accomplish great things in the heavyweight division.
This fight is meant to be a mere stepping stone to the next phase of his pro career. Here's how you can watch.
When: Saturday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
TV: Sky Sports
Live Stream: AWE TV
The Book on Joshua
The early performances in Joshua's career are very important. He has the gold medal as a stamp of validation, but the 6'6" prospect needs to remain impressive to continue to grow his buzz.
The big man has a physique that looks chiseled out of granite, but he isn't just some big brute. If you follow him on Twitter, you'll see he is quite introspective and balanced.
Check out this recent tweet:
After a long week of sparring. It's good 2 pick up a book & do my reading. Keeps my mind sharp and I make sure I'm not punchy lol G'Night 👊— Anthony Joshua MBE (@anthonyfjoshua) January 24, 2014
He has the type of personality that could make him a big star all over the world. But he has to keep winning if the casual fan will learn of him—or even care.
At 24 years old, he has the brightest future of any of the young, highly touted heavyweights. On Saturday, he'll be looking to make Darch another link in a chain of fallen opponents.
The Book on Darch
Who wins Joshua-Darch, and how?
Waiting through the delay of a major fight has to be nerve-racking. That's especially the case for a 29-year-old heavyweight who has only had nine pro bouts.
Darch doesn't have a wealth of experience, or a big name. Taking on Joshua at this stage of his career is about as big a fight as he could have.
This isn't the first highly touted, up-and-coming heavyweight he's faced, though. In September, Darch fought Hughie Fury (Tyson Fury's younger brother) and went the full six rounds. He came out on the losing end, but it's possible he learned from the bout.
Is the experience enough to pull the upset over Joshua? Of course, Darch's trainer and manager Steve "Sammy" Sims think so. He told BoxingWales.com: "Dorian knows that he’s never going to get a better chance to make a name for himself in boxing. Joshua is an Olympic gold medalist, live on big TV and he’s living the dream. We’re going to end it, this is everything to Dorian."
The pre-fight talk is entertaining, but the only thing that will matter is what the fighters do with their fists in the ring.
Alex Marasco of Top Class Boxing doesn't see Darch making it through three rounds:
Anthony Joshua vs Dorian Darch is a fight I will put money on. Yes he went this distance with Hughie but trussssssssst me won't go 3— Alex Marasco (@Marasco93) January 26, 2014
It's hard to argue with that prediction. Joshua is bigger, stronger and faster than Darch. Without a huge advantage in experience, or a wealth of punching power, Darch doesn't stand much of a chance.
Joshua will get this over in a hurry. He wins by a second-round KO.
Follow me. I'm addicted to the Sweet Science.