I am one of Anthony Joshua's biggest fans. It is no secret that I tried to sign him after he became the London 2012 Olympic Super-Heavyweight champion, he is a fine prospect who one day may win the world heavyweight title.

Anthony Joshua

Having said that I am disappointed that the opponents he has faced so far in his 11-fight professional career have not been stepped up of sufficient quality to test either his durability or his chin - the two big questions that need answering.

The latest, a rather pathetic American Jason Gavern, was duly dispatched in three rounds, a predictable outcome as he had been beaten 20 times before and stopped or KO'd in half of those defeats. As a contest, it told us nothing about Joshua's true professional potential, which is a pity.

Joshua talks the part, looks the part and so far punches the part. But can he act the part when the curtain goes up on the real show, once the auditions are over? That's what the fans want to know.

Surely it is time he was let off the leash against stiffer opposition - not just rollovers - to see whether he really can be a top dog of war. In my view he fought better opposition as an amateur, certainly in the Olympics, than he has so far as a pro.

Of course it is not unusual for young heavyweight hopes to be fed initially a staple diet of soft touches, but the 6ft 5in Joshua has faced a string of much smaller and older opponents who have punched well below their weight, if at all.

The combined age of the last three is 112. He has yet to meet anyone currently under 30 and three have been in their forties. One (Matt Skelton, KO'd in one,) was 48.

Anthony Joshua

Joshua's no baby. He is 25, just a year younger than Tyson Fury, who is now No1 contender for Wladimir Klitschko's WBO world title and won the English title in only his eighth fight.

Leon Spinks, one of Joshua's predecessors as Olympic champion, had only seven pro bouts before he fought - and famously beat - Muhammad Ali.

Next up is another American, the well-seasoned warhorse Kevin Johnson, who is 35. Although he's lost four of his last five and is not a noted puncher he has never been stopped so hopefully he can take Joshua more than just a round or three, so we can finally see what he's made of.

After that, with a dozen fights under his belt, surely Britain's golden boy should be stepping up in class to tackle, say, either Dereck Chisora, David Price or new kid on the block Dillian Whyte. Or at least someone in the world's top 20.

As I say, I really like Big Josh. But it is time he started fighting men nearer his own age - and size.


**Editor's note: Quillin overweight on the scales, and so no title on the line**

When Irishman Andy Lee stormed from behind last December to bludgeon the previously unbeaten Russian Matt Korobov and claim the WBO World Middleweight title, it was arguably the biggest ring upset of 2014.

Andy Lee

More of the same will be required from the Limerick larruper if he is to hang on to that belt when he makes his first defence against another undefeated foe, Peter Quillan, tonight.

It is a tough ask, not least because they clash in the American's Brooklyn backyard. But I believe Lee has a great chance.

Quillan, who has Cuban ancestry and calls himself Kid Chocolate after the Caribbean island's legendary featherweight, is a class act. But I'd like to see what happens when he takes one on the whiskers, as he surely will from Lee.

One thing Lee has going for him is the ability to make up for lost ground and land a surprise equaliser - which he did when clobbering Korobov in the sixth, well behind on all three scorecards.

Another is that he won't be fazed by fighting in the US. He won the title in Las Vegas and America is where he has spent most of his 36-fight career, having been schooled originally by the late, great Emanuel Steward at the Kronk gym in Detroit.

Lee, 30, is now tutored by Adam Booth, formerly mentor to David Haye and George Groves, and has come on leaps and bounds.

Andy Lee

While Lee is the defending champion, 31-year-old challenger, Quillin is also the former title holder, having never lost the belt in the ring. He had been due to defend against Korobov but turned down a career-best $1.4million pay day, deciding not to fight the mandatory challenger and subsequently saying he needed sabbatical from boxing.

Quillin cited emotional problems over a family situation. Lee later stepped in to defeat the Russian and win the vacated title.

The scrap, to be shown live by BoxNation, promises to be a cracker. The American, out of the ring for the last 12 months, has a 71 per cent knockout ratio. Lee, as we know, can bang on in there with the best of them.

It is one our Billy Joe Saunders, a fellow Travelling man like Lee, will be watching with great interest as he is officially next in line for the winner.


Over the next few weeks M&P will become as familiar a pairing in the public consciousness as M&S.

Yet while Mayweather v Pacquiao will undoubtedly be the event of the year, the fight of the year is likely to be the light-heavyweight collision between Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev, two of the fiercest punchers and hardest men the business.

While Superman v The Krusher may sound more like WEE than WBO or WBA, no fight is more eagerly awaited by the hardcore fans.

Haitian-born Canadian Stevenson, aka ' Superman', brilliantly outclassed durable Sakio Bika in defence of his WBC crown  last weekend, while in his last fight WBA and IBF champion Kovalev, the undefeated 'Krusher' from Russia, blitzed Jean Pascal to set up a potentially sensational showdown that has now gone out to purse offers.

These are not Sunshine Boys like M&P, but two perfectly-matched rivals at their peak, who will contest a 50-50 fight and unite the light-heavyweight division for the first time since Roy Jones in 1999. Can't wait.

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