Nigerian-born British boxer is becoming a heavyweight phenomenon as in dramatic fashion; he dispatched Russia’s Alexander Povetkin in his mandatory title defence at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
In the end, he pocketed £20 million for his night’s work while the Russian heads back east with £6m in his bank account.
The over 80,000 crowd at the arena were thrilled and the outcome justified the bout ticket prices.
In elegant manner, the favourites, Joshua entered the packed arena in a white robe, aping Muhammad Ali and looking very relaxed.
In Mohammed Ali-fashion, Anthony Joshua makes a flamboyant entry in an hydraulic lift into the ring.
He raised a white-gloved hand to friends and family sitting ringside, shadowboxed his way to the ring on a hydraulic lift, the biggest commercial commodity in the sport.
The big roar went up. Spumes of fire exploded around him but this is now a familiar walk down Wembley way, sound-tracked to the chant of ‘O, Anthon-eeeeJoshu-ua’. The arena went agog. After the mandatory ceremonies, the bout began.
It’s a cagey start. Joshua probing behind the left jab, while Povetkin looks to move in close and minimise his opponent’s reach advantage. It was a cagey start as they felt each other out, a phoney war until Povetkin exploded with a three-punch combination which clearly buckled Anthony Joshua.
- Povetkin had the advantage in the opening three rounds
He responded with a left hook into Povetkin’s cheek, rocking his head back momentarily. The physical disparity is obvious, but Povetkin unleashes a combination in the closing moments which stunned Joshua. He was caught there, and stumbled backwards. He wasn’t in danger of falling but it was a warning shot.
Povetkin appeared to have had an upper hand in the opening round as Joshua came out from the corner bleeding heavily from the nose. It appeared his nose was broken and he was in pain.
Tension gripped the supportive crowd as Povetkin was on the front foot, looking dangerous and targeting the body.
Povetkin was getting stronger hitting Joshua on the forehead, apparently targeting the broken nose as the third round began. “What’s happening the Joshua”, the crowd could have been wondering.
He was looking slow, cumbersome and a little timid. He needed to be clever and ride out the early storm.
Then another quick fire left sneaked through his defences. Povetkin was hounding Joshua, looking to make his dominance pay and floor him while he was suffering.
The Russian looked so fit and sharp. Joshua countered with a nice combination to lift the crowd but Povetkin definitely had the edge after three rounds.
Everyone appeared worried about Joshua’s condition, wondering if the end of his reign was imminent. The www.sportsvillagesquare,com recalls it was a Ukrainian, Vitali Klitschko that dethroned Nigeria’s Samuel Okon Peter in 2009 in his only title defence as WBC heavyweight belt holder.
Anthony Joshua begins to get the upper hand in the fourth round.
This time around the Joshua’s corner worked hard to patch him up between rounds. Good for him, he too had inflicted cut is above Povetkin’s left eye.
It was a boost for Joshua as he landed a crunching right to the injured area.
The Russian has slowed down a little bit and Joshua was growing into this. He powered a couple of jabs through Povetkin’s defences.
By the fifth round, things were turning round in Joshua’s favour. He was more in control. The Russian was swinging somewhat wildly. Joshua kept ducking and diving to avoid potentially lethal knockout blows.
Anthony Joshua gets the firm control
Joshua took his advantage into the sixth round landing deadly blows on into Povetkin’s temple. The Russian did not stay and turn himself into a punching bag.
He fired back. The tempo of the fight increased. Joshua was still getting the upper hand as Povetkin was looking tired.
Could it be the result of the 11-year age gap between them? Only a chance deadly blow could give Povetkin the edge at that point.
Shouts of “he’s blowing, he’s blowing,” came from Joshua’s corner, spying a potential weakness in Povetkin. The challenger kept coming though.
The Russian then came under heavy bombardment. A fearsome combination from Joshua left Povetkin on the floor.
He tried to get up, staggering. Joshua closed up with a final combination of blows that gave him a wonderful finish.