September 22nd 2018: By Aaron Cooper
My, oh my. Anthony Joshua promised that he would be more engaged in this fight. And, he did not disappoint. Largely in part due to the almighty challenge from his opponent, Alexander Povetkin.
Ultimately, Anthony Joshua retained his WBO, WBA & IBF world heavyweight titles via seventh-round knockout. Handing Povetkin his second ever professional loss, and the first time he has been stopped.
Ladies and gentleman, he certainly didn’t have it his own way.
A cagey opener was punctuated by a lightning fast combo by Povetkin at the end of the round. A beautiful uppercut followed by a straight right has in all likelihood broken Joshua’s nose. The same injury he suffered at the hands of Carlos Takam in October of 2017.
Povetkin picked up in the second round where he left off in the first. Joshua, bleeding heavily from the nose began to taste the leather of Povetkin’s overhand right. Far too frequently for anyone’s liking.
Another overhand right stung Joshua once more. However, the champion began to find his range. Finding a home for the jab. Rather frustratingly there seemed to be a hesitancy to let that big right hand go.
A ray of light came in the fourth round as a cut appeared over the left eye of Povetkin. Joshua managing to keep his distance from Povetkins hard shots for the first time in the fight.
The fifth round saw Povetkin tire. Looking for that single hard shot. Looking for the knockout punch with every shot. Joshua spent most of the round on the back foot but looked comfortable.
The sixth round really saw the fight come to life. Joshua finally started to use the right hand with more frequency. The round was not without its scary moments as Povetkin sprung to life to launch a barrage of overhand rights.
The end came midway through the seventh round. Joshua had spent a large part of the fight jabbing to the body. A jab to the body set up a hard right hand which shook Povetkin to his boots. Another straight right followed by a left hook sent Povetkin tumbling to the canvas. Oh boy, Povetkin did ever so well to climb off the canvas. The referee could well have called it off there.
Joshua, one of the best finishers in the sport. Pounced on Povetkin ruthlessly. AJ pounded him to the ropes. The referee calling an end to the fight. Sending a nigh on 90,000 strong crowd into a frenzy.
In just his twenty-second professional fight. Joshua arguably put paid to his toughest opponent.
In his post-fight interview with Sky Sports Joshua said.
“Povetkin is a very tough challenger and he proved it tonight. I realised he was strong to the head but weak to the body.
“Let’s see whats happening on April 13. Let’s ask the question, I have no mandatories.
“The sport is about what the fans want, let’s put a poll out on Twitter and see who fans want me to take on.
“I got my knockout streak back, I found my right hand again.
“There’s a lot of pressure, the country is rooting for us all and boxing. The energy in here spurs you on and I do feel that pressure.”
Joshua is still a work in progress and clearly has flaws. But as evidenced in this fight he is maturing with every performance. Calls that Joshua is ‘chinny’ proven wrong as he took shots from Povetkin that have felled many a heavyweight challenger.
Joshua was slightly coy in his post-fight interview about who he wanted to fight next. Before confirming that Wilder was his number one choice.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said:
“Joshua is a player in this game, the one stepping up and taking on great fighters.
“He is a special talent and a great model. There was a lot of pressure, Povetkin is a great fighter.
“Joshua’s a real world champion, we will go away now and try and make a fight with [Deontay] Wilder.
“Tonight was about getting that big banana skin of Alexander Povetkin out the way.
“If it’s not Deontay Wilder then it will be Whyte here on April 13.”
We know what fight we want to see. Will we see it? Only time will tell.