October 5 - Britain's Olympic super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua took less than three minutes to secure his first professional victory after a technical knockout win over Italian Emanuele Leo at London's O2 Arena tonight.
The 23-year-old from Watford, making his first appearance in the professional ranks after his London 2012 gold medal winning performance against Italy's defending Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle last year, cut an impressive specimen against his more rotund opponent, after a dropping a stone since his triumph last year.
The Italian, who came into the bout undefeated in eight outings, was still giving away a significant height and weight advantage to the 6ft 7in, 17 stone Joshua, and in truth, looked like a fish out of water from the first bell.
Joshua, under the watchful eye of trainer Tony Sims, barely gave the punters at London's O2 time to settle into their seats before he unleashed a volley of quick-fire shots to immediately put his 32-year-old opponent on the back-foot, and despite being caught by two decent left hooks, he hit back with two straight right hands and a right hook to send Cammarelle crashing to the floor after 2min 47sec.
It was as clear as the inevitable hype that will surround Joshua's maiden win, that the big Italian was not getting back up and he required oxygen at ringside once the referee had called a halt to the fight.
"This is just as important as winning the Olympics, and there is only one debut, and we ended it in spectacular fashion," said Joshua, who has claimed he aims to become world champion inside four years.
"There were big expectations on me as people wanted to see what I've been up to in the 14 months I've been away.
"I had to stay relaxed.
"I've been doing a lot of work outside of the ring in the gym and I feel like I showed bits and pieces of my skills tonight.
"Everyone is proud and hopefully everyone can understand what my dreams are.
"I just need to stay disciplined, focused and hopefully everyone will support me and let me crack on with it.
"Then you will see the best of me."
Meanwhile, fellow London 2012 Luke Cmpbell took even less time in despatching fellow Briton Neil Hepper, to record his second successive first round stoppage in just 1:59 as he continued his impressive start to life in the professional ranks at lightweight.
A right hand to the ribs sucked the air out of Hepper, who could not beat the count, handing the man from Hull another win following his debut victory over Andy Harris in July.
"I'm switched on, I train hard and come fight night I'm ready and prepared," said the 26-year-old.
"I just want to excite the fans."
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