Anthony Joshua (13-0, 13 KOs) once again proved his worth as the most exciting up-and-comer in the heavyweight ranks, earning a blatantly one-sided second-round TKO victory over the veteran Kevin Johnson at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.
It was Joshua's first defense of his WBC international heavyweight title. He took the vacant belt with a win over Denis Bakhtov in October 2014.
The 25-year-old phenom has yet to see a fourth round in his professional career. This was the first defeat by stoppage for Johnson and the fifth loss in his last six matches.
Joshua certainly had a performance like this in mind when he told Sky Sports that "Johnson can bring out the best in me."
The bout made a believer out of Bad Left Hook:
ESPN's Dan Rafael put the result in perspective:
There was little to nothing in the way of a defense or proper strategy for Johnson. Joshua spun off devastating combinations with breathtaking ease and power, forcing the ref to call the fight early in the second round.
Johnson appeared more interested in showboating than boxing in the first round. He dropped his hands several times and taunted Joshua, even tossing in a Muhammad Ali-like shuffle, despite doing nothing to stop Joshua's inexorable march forward.
He paid for his transgressions at the end of the round, as Joshua thrashed him with a vicious combo and knocked Johnson to his knee. With just seconds left in the round, Johnson got the OK from the ref to continue fighting, but Joshua quickly sent him back to the canvas with a barrage of uppercuts.
Sky Sports Boxing provided a look at the carnage:
The first-round bell saved Johnson from a three-minute loss, but it wouldn't save him from embarrassment. Joshua was right back on top of him in the second round, pinning him to the ropes and landing power punches at will.
A thumping left hook hurt Johnson, and Joshua sensed his chance to end it. After a few more hooks, the ref called the fight to save the 35-year-old American from further punishment.
Rafael noted that this match was only the second time a fighter had downed Johnson:
As Tony Morgan noted in the International Business Times, Johnson said that he could retire after this match. He's a shadow of the survivalist who went 12 rounds with Vitali Klitschko back in 2009, and despite his pre-match bluster and bravado, he was no match for the imperious Joshua.
The young Watford fighter needs a major step up in competition. This was his first title defense, but it was hardly a proper one. He's yet to be challenged in the ring and looks poised to establish himself as the big man to beat in due time.