PHOTO: Lawrence Lustig
Joshua blasted away at the American from the off, hurting Johnson immediately and then flooring him late in the round. Johnson was down once again at the end of the session but gallantly came out for the second stanza – he only managed 80 seconds of the round before referee Ian John-Lewis spared the American – from further punishment.
The 24-year-old Londoner made it 13-0 and 13 KOs in the paid ranks inside three rounds – and Joshua said he will be back in the venue in the autumn to cause more havoc in the heavyweight scene.
“I come out here and perform in front of everyone who comes to support me,” said Joshua. “This is what it is about.
“I have travelled about so many places with Matchroom but The O2 is my home and it is filling up more and more every time.
“This is what I am here to do. My coach really drills me in the gym n it is only right the hard work pays off. I want to dedicate that to Mitchell and John Ryder. We all share a changing room. It is an individual sport but they are my stable mates. They will bounce back.
“People say that guy will test me, this guy will test me. It is only going to get tough and I will fight tougher opponents, the game doesn’t stop.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “That was devastating. We witnessed the future Heavyweight champion of the world. We have to do things right and we will progress him at the right pace. “He will be out in July in Manchester and you will love the fight we have here for September 12. He is a great fighter and he is Great British. We have a few names there but we will fill this place again. This guy is going to beat every single Heavyweight in the world. We have a chance for a heavyweight to fly the flag for Great Britain and let’s all enjoy the journey of Anthony Joshua.”
Johnson, who had never been stopped before, announced his retirement after the contest.