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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Anthony Joshua stepping up competition

By Dan Rafael

Blue-chip heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua is taking a step up in competition for his next fight.

The 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist will face Konstantin Airich at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, on Sept. 13 on the undercard of junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg’s defense against Stephane Jamoye.

Joshua (7-0, 7 KOs), 24, has scored first- or second-round knockouts in all of his fights, and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn hopes an opponent can extend him a few rounds.

Airich (21-9-2, 17 KOs), 35, who is from Kazakhstan and lives in Germany, has been stopped four times in his nine defeats but has gone the distance with such fighters as Czar Glazkov and Odlanier Solis. But two of his KO losses were in the first round, to Manuel Charr and Tye Fields.

“This fight signifies the first real step up for Anthony,” Hearn said. “Airich has plenty of experience at the top level. He’s a lively competitor and can punch.”

Joshua should be well-prepared for the fight having just returned from spending time in heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s training camp as one of his sparring partners for a Sept. 6 defense against Kubrat Pulev that was postponed Monday because Klitschko suffered a torn left biceps.