All eyes were on Wembley Stadium once again on Saturday night as Anthony Joshua took to the ring to defend his IBF, WBO and WBA belts against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin.
After Team Joshua and Team wilder failed to agree on terms for a winner takes all bout, AJ was forced to take on his mandatory in Povetkin, who came into the fight off the back of a devastating knockout of David Price. Joshua wanted to make a statement against the former world champion, and that he did.
Joshua came into the fight the much bigger man, with a longer reach, but this was something that Povetkin had become accustomed to over the course of his career. The Russian had only lost on one previous occasion and that was to Wladimir Klitschko, while AJ was looking to get back into the swing of things by becoming the first man to stop Povetkin. The Russia began the fight the better of two, as eh looked to get onto the inside where he’s notoriously dangerous. He caught Joshua cold a few times, hitting him with powerful shots, one which caught AJ’s nose and caused some heavy bleeding.
There’s no denying that in the opening couple of rounds Povetkin was on top, as Joshua struggled to adjust to how the Russian was bringing the fight to him. It looked like AJ’s game plan would be to weaken Povetkin and take the fight into the later rounds, especially with the Russian being 39 years old. However, after a slight clash of heads, Povetkin was cut and this seemed to bring AJ to life, as he finally acclimatised to the situation and worked the jab well, using his reach advantage.
Joshua was growing in confidence and he began letting off some great shots, but Povetkin remained dangerous. It was evident that he was aiming to deliver power punches, as he worked to get on the inside to land heavy blows on the defending champion. While Povetkin had his moments, Joshua started to look like the fighter everyone knows him to be, and he caught his opponent brilliantly in the 7th, which saw him go flying to the canvas.
Povetkin has been down before but he really struggled to get to his feet, and the end looked close as the referee allowed the bout to continue. Joshua smelt blood and immediately went back on the attack, launching a flurry of punches which saw the fight stopped, as Povetkin fell to the canvas once again. The Russian had impressed early on, but the night belonged to Joshua, who looked back to his devastating best, with an April bout now in his sights.
If Wilder and Fury do end up fighting in December, you would think Joshua could take on the winner of the bout, if terms can be agreed between the relevant parties. If not, a rematch between Joshua and Dillian Whyte could be on the cards, with Whyte having climbed the rankings well over the last couple of years.