Joshua set for home comforts

  • By: Simon Crawford
  • Last Updated: July 13 2014, 22:15 BST

Anthony Joshua's explosive start in the professional ranks is set to be rewarded with an outdoor fight in his home town of Watford next summer.

Anthony Joshua puts Matt Skelton on the canvas
Anthony Joshua puts Matt Skelton on the canvas

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist swept to his seventh straight win in the paid ranks when he stopped veteran Matt Skelton in two rounds on Saturday night.

The 24-year-old is yet to be taken beyond two rounds but faces a tough test next time out when he tackles tough Ukrainian Yaroslav Zavorotnyi in Dublin on August 30 - a man who took Liverpool's David Price 10 rounds last time out.

"It's Zavorotnyi next month and then Michael Sprott at the O2 on October 11.

"We want to do something in his home town of Watford, maybe around Christmas time, and then hopefully he will fight for the British title at Vicarage Road [Watford FC's stadium] next summer," said promoter Eddie Hearn.

"We've been everywhere with him so far but not done anything in Watford. Anthony has a big presence there and as time progresses he will be a regular fixture at Wembley Stadium - but I'm talking 18 months or two years down the line. In the interim we need a stadium fight next summer at Vicarage Road and I know every time I've mentioned it he likes the sound of it.

"Arguably he's getting the best reception of any boxer no matter where we are. In Scotland the welcome was unbelievable and in Liverpool last night it was right up there with the likes of Tony Bellew, Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding so people are excited to see him.

"I want to take him to cities where they are a little bit starved of boxing. Dublin is a great example - I'm sure he'll get a brilliant reception at the national stadium.

"It's all about new experiences, new atmospheres, new changing rooms - it's all part of learning.

"There are plenty of plans for Anthony. Realistically I think the loser of Fury-Chisora towards the end of the year is a good fight for him, plus we'd also like to take him out to America before the end of 2014."

Joshua was once more clinical in disposing of the threat posed by Skelton - a man 23 years his senior.

It had been billed as Joshua's most testing fight to date but Skelton was put down by a clubbing right hand to the head late in the second round.

He just beat the count and was briefly allowed to continue before the referee stepped in moments later as the former world-title challenger immediately toppled backwards towards the ropes.

"Skelton was what I expected," Joshua told sportinglife.com. "He was good on the inside, quite strong and he was also in good shape. He had notice for the fight so he was in good condition.

"These are the fights I'm looking for - guys that know the game, know the ring and will give me some trouble. I saw Zavorotnyi fight Price and he is quite game and tough so it will be interesting to see how many rounds that lasts for.

"Obviously the longer a fight goes on then the more I will be able to demonstrate my skills. There's a lot more to come and everybody will be able to see that as my career unfolds.

"But I still learn a lot from every fight, no matter how long it lasts and against Skelton I learned that balance was so important when I'm throwing shots.

"Obviously I'm pleased with how things are going but I still have so much to learn so there's no getting carried away."


New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30