sport

Short and sweet for Joshua

Anthony Joshua needed just 134 seconds to see off the challenge of Hector Avila in Glasgow and chalk up his fifth win as a professional.

The British heavyweight endeared himself to the crowd at the SECC by heading to the ring to the sounds of the Proclaimers' '500 Miles' - and he quickly had the fans on their feet by flooring his Argentine opponent.

Avila had taken another Brit, Derick Chisora, nine rounds just under a year ago but failed to even get out of the first, his night coming to a premature end when he walked onto a left counter.

'The Shark' was attempting to lead in with a right himself but was caught by a chopping blow that sent him flat on his back. The referee began the count but it soon became apparent the bout was over.

Joshua had already backed the South American back up against the ropes just before the end came along, picking his shots carefully as Avila covered up in a desperate attempt to survive.

He couldn't in the end, meaning the man from Watford has still yet to get beyond the second round since turning pro.

"There's definitely an improvement from my last fight, and that's what I was looking for," Joshua told Sky Sports. "It was clear to see there have been some improvements in me. As the opponents get better, we want to keep on doing that.

"When people are knocking guys out there are always questions about whether they can go the distance. Everyone trains hard in the gym, but I think mentally I'm ready to go six, eight (rounds).

"This is my last six-rounder and the opponents are going to get tougher.

"This is going to be an interesting year and there will be a time when you see me go past two (rounds). I bet you I'll be fine."

Progressing

Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted afterwards that it was going to be tough to hold back the 2012 Olympic gold medallist who will be back in action in Manchester on April 19 on the undercard to Scott Quigg's world title defence.

"He's progressing," Hearn said at ringside. "People will criticise the opponent, but he (Avila) went nine rounds with Chisora.

"It's about showcasing Anthony Joshua all around the country. To see him walk out to that reception was incredible - that's why we love coming here so much.

"He's going all the way. We've got a problem in that I think he's ready for the division now. But we've got to keep progressing, keep learning. But right there, you've got something very special."

While Matchroom looked abroad this time around for someone to face Joshua, Hearn suggested future rivals could come from a little closer to home.

"We hoped Avila would give him so rounds," he added. "We will look abroad, look internationally. The names of Sprott and (Matt) Skelton have all been put in the mix. They're perfect for Anthony next.

"Then we will look at a British title in the next six months. We've got to do it right."