Joshua favourite for boxing gold but tough Olympic road still ahead

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The jury is out over whether Anthony Joshua fully deserved his victory over Erislandy Savon in his opening bout at the Olympics, but the Brit remains favourite to win gold in the super heavyweight ranks.

Joshua scraped through 17-16 against the Cuban and there have been suggestions that he benefited from a hometown decision in an extremely tight fight, in which the eventual loser finishing particularly strongly.

Savon was seen as a big danger, given that he is the nephew of Felix Savon, who has three gold medals to his name.

The reward is that Joshua is 11/8 to repeat Audley Harrison’s victory in the same weight category in 2000, but many of his chief challengers have also progressed to the last eight.

Arguably, the good news for Joshua is that his two main rivals are in the other half of the draw, the top two seeds from last year’s world championships.

Azerbaijan’s Magomedrasul Majidov beat Joshua by a single point in that final and reached the quarter finals in London thanks to a referee stoppage.

Italy’s Roberto Cammarelle is the defending Olympic champion in the super heavyweight ranks and would be a potential semi-final opponent for Majidov.

Next for Joshua is the 2008 Olympic silver medallist Zhang Zhilei, but the bigger test would logically await in the semi finals, where the likely opponent is Kazakhstan’s Ivan Dychko.

Dychko was a big winner in the second round in London over Erik Pfeifer of Germany, who was Joshua’s semi-final opponent at the last World Championship, which shows the impressiveness of this success.

Majidov would rate as the biggest danger and is 5/2 to win gold in the super heavyweight ranks and there is a real possibility that he could face Joshua in a major final again.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.