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British heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua moved to 9-0 after a second-round stoppage win over Russian Denis Bakhtov at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.
With Michael Sprott waiting on November 22 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, Joshua was expected to face tougher opposition in his bid to win the WBC international heavyweight title, the first belt of his professional career.
Bakhtov (38-9) hadn’t been stopped since 2005, but after a flurry of heavy punches in the first round, the Russian was already cut and struggling to cope with the power of his opponent.
Joshua continued his relentless punching in the second round, although he did get caught with a left hook as he engaged in a trade with his rival inside, but ultimately he had too much weight behind his shots and the referee was forced to step in and end the fight early.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has questioned whether or not Sprott will still take the fight next month after that performance, with Joshua undoubtedly looking more ruthless and efficient than ever before.
Meanwhile, fellow British heavyweight David Price was ringside working for Sky Sports, and he believes that a clash between him and Joshua “would be explosive” as Hearn now looks to set up some big fights in 2015.