Heavyweight boxing fans with a long to-do list got a helping hand—or perhaps fist—from the towering Anthony Joshua on Saturday night, as the British phenom opened up their weekend schedules by ending his undercard bout quickly and decisively.
Joshua (10-0-0, 10 KOs) needed approximately 90 seconds of the first round to earn a TKO victory over journeyman heavyweight Michael Sprott (42-23-0, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Joshua—fighting Sprott on the undercard of the Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew rematch—brought a heavy dose of malice to Merseyside. The majority of the few punches he had to throw landed cleanly and heavily. Joshua pinned Sprott up against the ropes, who did all he could to protect his skull from the churning pistons that are Joshua's arms.
It wasn't long before the referee moved into the fray and called the fight.
The Times' Tony Barrett described the action:
Blitzkrieg is perhaps more like it, as the lightning-quick power punches absolutely devastated Sprott and had him quivering just over a minute into the contest.
Sky Sports Boxing actually managed to snap a picture of the bout before it was over:
It's Joshua's 10th win via knockout in 10 professional fights. Few boxers of any weight class could ask for a better start to their careers.
Like any good fighter on an unbelievable hot streak, the conversation immediately turns to a simple two-word question: Who's next?
Joshua might still be a few fights away from a title shot, but you can count those hypotheticals on one cartoon hand. ESPN football commentator Ian Darke feels Joshua still has more to prove after beating his aging opponent:
Then again, he might be closer to the pinnacle than most think as his bouts have some of the top stars in boxing on notice.
According to the Daily Star's Chris McKenna, both David Price and Tyson Fury have expressed interest in taking on the the 25-year-old Watford whopper. Joshua seems keenly aware that taking on either one of those illustrious fighters would be a big step up for him at the beginning of his professional career and hasn't taken to issuing any challenges of his own.
"I won't mention their careers, because they are not doing anything for me. I wish them success so they can stop worrying about me," said Joshua, per McKenna.
This is a sensible approach for Joshua, as these notable heavyweights would likely test him in new ways in the ring and taking an early loss could erase much of the hype surrounding him.
"I will rise to the talk when I feel I'm ready to. That is when it will happen," he continued.
That single-minded focus has served him well in his rise to the upper tier of the heavyweight ranks. Joshua had a very successful amateur career, highlighted by an Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games.
There are still question marks surrounding him. Stamina is still a mystery and we've yet to see anyone test his chin, but that tends to happen when you end every fight before the fourth round.
However, he seems destined to garner support due to his rippling physique and awesome power.
A few more wins for Joshua, and soon he could be the one calling out the biggest names in British boxing.