Anthony Joshua dismantles Kevin Johnson in two rounds

Anthony Joshua (left) in action with Kevin Johnson
Anthony Joshua (left) in action with Kevin Johnson

Anthony Joshua passed the biggest test of his professional career with flying colours as he stepped up in class to destroy former world heavyweight title challenger Kevin Johnson in two rounds at London’s O2 Arena.

The 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medalist had easily stopped all of his previous 12 opponents and promoter Eddie Hearn decided American loudmouth Johnson was the man to give his credentials a stiffer test.

Joshua made a mockery of it, however, battering the veteran for a round and a half and having him down twice - albeit only once officially - before the inevitable end came.

Johnson, on paper, was indeed a step up in class for Watford novice Joshua and had never been stopped. Without boasting dangerous power, his credentials were there for all to see having gone the distance with Vitali Klitschko in an unsuccessful world title challenge in 2009.

However, lopsided losses to the likes of Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora tempered that feat and gave fight fans an opportunity to gauge Joshua’s progress.

Joshua, for his part, was boxing just three weeks after an easy win over South American Raphael Zumbano Love in Birmingham as he aims to keep busy during his high-profile apprenticeship.

Johnson, 35, has a notoriously awkward style but Joshua landed a big right in the second minute which registered clearly.

The partisan crowd roared Joshua on and he had the slightly unfit Johnson on the ropes for a moment before he began showboating.

Joshua had him down with a lovely right to the body, left and right to the head but he got to his feet.

Joshua poured on the shots as Johnson covered up and another combination, culminating in a huge right, had Johnson down - but a split second after the bell had rung.

Joshua hammered away in the second round as Johnson offered absolutely nothing in a horribly one-sided beating.

Indeed, Joshua’s power meant the issue was increasingly dangerous. Another right hand had referee Ian John-Lewis taking a close look, and a second forced the official to step in and finally wave it off a minute and 23 seconds into the round.