Britain’s Super heavyweight Olympic Champion Anthony Joshua is on the hunt for his ninth straight victory in the Professional ranks against Kazakh born Russian Denis Bakhtov as he fights for his first official belt the vacant WBC International heavyweight title at the O2 Arena in London on October 11th.
Anthony Joshua’s pro career is starting to build momentum like a freight train and his next opponent should prove to be nothing more than an unscheduled station on his track to world title. The title won’t mean too much to the six foot six inch colossus though, as he undoubtedly has bigger fish to fry and looks set for the highest echelons albeit in an incredibly weak heavyweight division. He will realistically be setting the target of eventually challenging for a world title.
Denis Bahtkov is a 34 year old experienced campaigner who is ranked inside the top 50 in the world and represents Joshua’s toughest challenge to date. In his recent bouts he was retired by Manuel Charr in five rounds in October of last year in Leipzig. He did however beat Anthony Joshua’s last opponent Konstantin Airich via a unanimous decision in an eight round contest in his last fight. Joshua in comparison blitzed him in three. It is slightly dangerous to compare fighters using past opponents they have both faced as often styles make fights but there isn’t a lot of variation in the style and capabilities of many eastern European heavyweights, so in this case it looks to be a fair barometer of the levels of the two fighters. The Kazakh- Russian stands around six foot tall which will mean that Joshua will have a huge height and reach advantage to tee off with powerful shots without having to stray into the range of his opponent. Joshua has been sparring with Klitschko recently though, as he was drafted in to help with his preparations for Kubrat Pulev and you can’t ask for any better development than that.
We are still waiting for that opponent who is going to be able to take him a few more rounds to either expose flaws or allow us see the full extent of Joshua’s boxing skill. Despite being an elite physical specimen, his stamina, punch resistance and power late in a twelve round contest are yet to be tested but with the knockout power he possesses fight fans could be waiting a while yet until he is taken the distance. It is certainly hard to envisage Bahktov being the man to test him. Despite not having being cleanly dispatched since 2005 when he lost by TKO to Saul Montana he could well be in for an early bath.
His progression through the amateur ranks was so rapid that within four years of lacing up a pair of gloves he had an Olympic gold medal hanging around his neck. Some people have questioned some of the results believing he was given the benefit in some bouts due to it being a home city Olympics but apart from the fight against a very talented boxer Erislandy Savon, which was extremely close either way, it is highly critical to suggest he didn’t deserve to win it. His raw physical talent and swift progression in both the amateurs and pro ranks so far combined with the lack of depth in the heavyweight division may be disadvantageous when he finally does reach the top to face champion Vladimir Klitschko who looks like going nowhere anytime soon. He may then be lacking the necessary experience to make what is a huge step up from any other fighter. It will be a while before he gets there though and his first real achievement should come in the shape of the British title.
Joshua: 8W 8KO 0L 100KO%
Bahktov: 38W 25KO 9L (4KO) 53.19%