Why Joshua is foolish to focus on Fury ahead of Martin clash
Anthony Joshua should heed the warnings of those who have gone before him and focus all his attention on Charles Martin ahead of their IBF world title clash this Saturday.
Joshua has been made the odds-on favourite to beat the American but even his own promoter, Eddie Hearn, has scoffed at the pricing, suggesting the fight is a 50-50 affair.
The latest odds have Olympic gold medalist AJ down as the 2/9 favourite, with champions Martin deemed the 7/2 outsider.
Joshua has outwardly said that he is not underestimating the 6ft4in southpaw but in focusing his attention on domestic rival Tyson Fury this week he could be playing into the St. Louis man’s hands.
AJ has been vocal about WBA, WBO, IBO and The Ring magazine champion Fury in the last few days, insisting the Mancunian is “jealous of his body” and offering him a ringside seat for Saturday’s O2 Arena showdown.
The Watford man should be wary of taking his eye of the ball, however, with Martin a far more dangerous opponent than the odds suggest.
Lennox Lewis was guilty of something similar when defending his WBC, IBF, IBO and lineal heavyweight titles against Hasim Rahman in South Africa in 2001.
Having his attention turned by media activities Lewis failed to give himself enough time to adjust to the climate and was duly stopped in the fifth round by the unfancied Baltimore native.
This is not to suggest that AJ will make the same mistakes but allowing Fury to dominate his thoughts is fraught with danger.
Martin is undefeated in his 24-fight professional career and with 21 knockouts in that time the champ has demonstrated his devastating power.
Joshua showed in his last fight that he can be hurt when a Dillian Whyte blow briefly threatened to derail his journey to a world title.
That chance has now come in his next fight and the evidence suggests that Martin hits even harder than Whyte so Joshua would be wise to focus on the matter at hand. Fury can wait for another day.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing