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Anthony Joshua says he had to knock-out Paul Butlin but is wary about needing to get rounds in the bank
Deputy group sports editor Frank Smith was ringside for Anthony Joshua's second professional fight and caught up with the heavyweight prospect in his dressing room after the bout.
Anthony Joshua stressed his second-round knock-out of Paul Butlin “needed to end that way” but admitted he is wary of not getting enough rounds in the bank.
Joshua, who grew up in Watford and now lives in Golders Green, followed up his first-round KO in his professional debut at the beginning of the month with another early stoppage last night in his second bout as a pro.
Butlin is a resilient and experienced heavyweight who twice took European champion Dereck Chisora to points in four-round and six-round bouts and he has fought across Europe.
But Joshua completely dismantled the 37-year-old Butlin at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.
The current Olympic super heavyweight champion’s lightening jab set up a number of combinations and Butlin did well to survive round one.
But a left hook and then powerful straight right floored Butlin in round two and whilst he beat the count, the Melton Mowbray fighter suffered a severe cut above the left eye and the referee called off the contest after another flurry by Joshua.
“It needed to end that way even though he is a tough guy,” Joshua said from his dressing room after the fight. “I planned to go the six rounds so to end it in two - ok he is not a Klitschko - but it shows I’m improving bit by bit. And as long as my coach says I’m improving then I’m happy.”
The former Lea Farm and Kings Langley pupil added: “I am impressed he got up from the punch because it was a clean shot. But he is a tough geezer and I didn’t expect any different from him. I expected him to be tough like that.”
Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist from London 2012 and was a two-time ABA champion during his amateur career.
But he is relishing life as a professional.
He said: “I don’t know what it is about the pro game; you put a bit more spite behind your shots. In the Olympics you just touch them and it is a point; it is like fencing. This is why the professional game is the real deal.
“It isn’t just about the power though. Muhammad Ali said the fight is won weeks before in the gym and my main work is on my legs, core and upper body. If I didn’t do that work weeks before then I wouldn’t have that power on fight night.”
The downside to early stoppages – if there is one – is that a fighter doesn’t have the chance to fight over several rounds.
After the fight, whilst headliner Kell Brook was knocking out Vyacheslav Senchenko in their IBF title eliminator, Joshua spent more than ten minutes doing pad work with his trainer Tony Sims to burn off excess energy.
When asked if he was worried about not getting rounds in the bank, Joshua replied: “I am.
“Paul was hurt in the first round and I pulled off a bit as I didn’t want to rush because if he survived then it might go six rounds. I had to take it round by round.
“In the first round the shots were flowing and in the second round I thought I would up it and find that second gear.”
Sky Sports showed footage of Joshua shortly before his fight where he was laughing and joking whilst laying back on a couch.
He is a relaxed character and his mentality has been roundly praised by boxing pundits and experts.
Joshua explained: “Before fights I just chill out with my family, crack some jokes and chew some chewing gum. I then have my water and listen to some music and when it is time to do those wraps, then it is time to crack on.”
He continued: “When you are doing the wraps in the amateurs you have this blue 45m wrap you have to use to protect your knuckles and wrists. In the pros you have wrap, tape, knuckle protection, wrap and then tape so by the time you have the legal amount your hand is like an iron fist and it is like you are going out to battle. You feel like you are in Street Fighter or something.
“The gloves are smaller and as Tony Sims says, you are going out to war now. You have to stay focussed and switched on.”
Joshua has less than three weeks to wait until his third professional outing, as he headlines a show at York Hall in Bethnal Green on Thursday, November 14.
He said: “They haven’t decided on an opponent yet. I have trust in my trainer and my promoter. Whoever they do choose, he needs to get beat.”
Read about Joshua’s rise from Watford teenager to Olympic gold medalist and why he thinks it is so important to be a role model to youngsters here.
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