Boxing Preview: Joshua vs Bakhtov in London’s O2 Arena This Weekend

anthony-joshua_2308045bThe O2 Millenium Dome in London will play host to a boxing card on Saturday, October 11th that is headlined by the first 12 round bout of Heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua’s career, as he faces the experienced Denis Bakhtov. Heading into fight week, the books have Joshua installed as a massive (-10000) favorite over Bakhtov, who returns at (+3500). Joshua is on the fast track with his career, as he made his professional debut in October of 2013 after winning a Gold medal at the London Olympics. He is a gifted athlete who came to boxing at the age of 18 and has excelled at every level so far. There is no doubt he is being groomed to win World titles, so Bakhtov is just one more step up on the rung for Joshua, who already has a fight on the schedule for November. If you are looking for Joshua to be tested, that test is unlikely to come in this bout. In what passes for a competitive line on the British Isles, local fighter John Ryder is favored at (-515) over Sergey Khomiysky , who returns at (+375) as he seeks to add a vacant WBA Inter-Continental belt to his resume. Some reports have the Khomiyskiy being replaced by Ghanian fighter Theophilus Tetteh, which means the line could spread further in favor of Ryder. The point here is not to create a competitive match in any way, rather the point is to get Ryder a belt. Lee Selby is favored at (-425) over Australian Joel Brunker, who is the underdog at (+320) despite bringing a perfect 27-0 record to the match. This is only Brunker’s second career outing at 12 rounds, while Selby has been fighting and winning 12 rounders going on three years now, so the experience edge Brunker’s record might suggest is probably not there. Add to that the famous ‘atmosphere’ that welcomes visiting fighters when they land on the British Isles, and most of the advantages are on the side of Selby heading into this one. Eddie Hearn, the man at Matchroom Boxing Promotions is also the owner of a promotional contract for Joshua. Joshua really is a gem of a prospect, and Hearn knows that. Therefore it is unlikely that Hearn, who knows boxing on the Isles inside and out, is going to slip up and put a true test in front of Joshua until they are ready. The wide lines coming up consistently on Joshua’s fights show that perhaps the ethics around a promotional company owning a fighters contract as well are becoming blurry. But things are unlikely to change, since all of these fights are sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Written by Miguel

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