• Charles Martin knocked Gerald Washington out in the sixth round of their IBF world title eliminator at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
  • Martin was rarely troubled by Washington, and finished him off with a straight left he had been rehearsing through the bout.
  • The win sees Martin as a probable future challenger to Anthony Joshua, who is the current IBF, WBA, and WBO world heavyweight champion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

LAS VEGAS — Charles Martin sent his opponent to the canvas in a thumping knockout win, setting up a probable shot at Anthony Joshua.

Martin faced a fellow American heavyweight Gerald Washington in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, February 22, in an official IBF world title eliminator, which could set him on a collision course with Joshua, the current IBF champion, within 12-24 months.

Joshua’s most recent bout, an anticipated rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr., reportedly generated $100 million in total prize money.

The Mexican scored one of the greatest heavyweight upsets of all time when he dropped the Brit four times last summer, but lost the championship belts six months later as Joshua boxed to a cautious gameplan, winning a decision in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Joshua earned $85 million. Ruiz Jr., reportedly, returned to California $15 million wealthier.

With a world title shot and a potentially huge payday at stake, it was on Martin and Washington to make a statement. Being a mandatory challenger was one thing, but being a credible one was even better.

Considering the conclusive beating Joshua gave him in 2016, it is unclear if Martin actually is credible, and, aside from showing heart in his narrow loss to Adam Kownacki in 2018, if he has even made the necessary adjustments and improvements to be competitive against the two-time heavyweight champion.

But, on Saturday, in the penultimate bout of an event headlined by Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, Martin boxed patiently for the first half of each opening round, then pumped the southpaw straight left into his opponent. Only in the third did he rouse the crowd with a flurry of action, committing to something more than a textbook one-two.

Martin rarely had to overcome any test as Washington posed little danger. Then, in the sixth round, Martin finished him with that trusted southpaw left which he had been practising throwing throughout the bout.

“I knew that I had him hurt a few times in the fight,” Martin said. “Every round I think I hurt him, but I just couldn’t finish him. I knew that I had to take my time in there. It took me some rounds to catch up with him, because he’s very quick on the retreat.

“This win means a lot. It shows that I’ve been working hard. The people can see it. I was never hurt at any point. This has just given me more confidence in myself. I can take the punches and give the punches.”

With victory, Martin advanced his record to 28 wins (25 KOs) against 2 losses (1 KO) as well as 1 disqualification. And now it may only be a matter of time before he faces Joshua again, hoping to improve on a second round knockout loss.

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