Anthony Joshua put all the marbles on the line against the dangerous Alexander Povetkin at Wembley.
A step up from the Carlos Takam’s of the world, the Russian was nonetheless expected to ultimately lose. While he did succumb to the undefeated Olympic gold medallist, he caused some panic for AJ fans.
Joshua appeared to be in control in the opener, but Povetkin caught Joshua with a sweet three punch combo at the end of the round. A left got through the guard, followed quickly by a right and left to bloody Joshua’s nose for the second.
That round arguably went to Povetkin also, who mostly moved well in and out of range rather than standing in front of the Watford native. While his hooks were less successful, a sneaky overhand right was a highlight.
Another one landed in the third, nicely timed over Joshua’s jab, with the Brit fully aware that he was now in a fight. But better defence and a measure of control over distance gave him the third round and restored some stability.
In the fourth, a cut to the Russian’s left eye after taking a good right hand seemed to reflect his increasingly ragged approach, as he swung wildly without setting up the shots.
The worry for the challenger as the fight wore on was that his best chance for a knockout looked to have passed him by.
With Joshua now starting to pile up the rounds with the home-field advantage on the judges’ scorecards (58-56×2, 59-55), a decision win was unlikely beyond the 39-year-old.
Just as Povetkin was getting closer to landing his more hurtful punches once again in the seventh, the home favourite finished the fight with a superb flurry after an initial right. Povetkin got back up, but the damage was done and the referee was forced to call a halt to the action.
Yo Anthony Joshua just made Povetkin to see stars 😭
Felt that punch in my soul 😩😩 K.O 🥊 pic.twitter.com/VRlijDsHlj
— 🔴 (@the_ifee) September 22, 2018
With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury set to fight in December, a heavyweight superfight involving the winner and Joshua will hopefully be in place for 2019.