Anthony Joshua once again showed that he may be the best heavyweight in the world as he defeated Alexandra Povetkin and it was not an easy bout as the 39 year old Povetkin nailed Joshua with a combination that open a gusher of blood from Joshua nose in the first round. Joshua may have fought the rest of the fight with a broken nose but certainly, the blood flow from his nose hampered his breathing.
Povetkin proved competitive through the first six rounds as he landed solid combinations and pursued Joshua through the first half of the fight as he attempted to get inside of the bigger Joshua. I had Povetkin winning the first two rounds and the halfway mark, I had the fight even. Throughout the sixth round, Joshua started to take command as he threw and connected on double the punches while Povetkin looked tired.
Povetkin pushed the pace but Joshua adopted to the Povetkin and fought like the taller fighter as he started to pump his jab to establish the real estate between the two. In the first round, Povetkin wobbled Joshua knees with a left uppercut and he landed numerous punches that shook Joshua up but Joshua jab started to control the fight as the fight proceeded. Joshua proved vulnerable as Povetkin proved an able competitor but Joshua height and power proved decisive.
Joshua understood that Povetkin could end his championship and used his jab to set up combinations. The jabs went to the body and to the head and while defense was not perfect, he started to block many of Povetkin’s shots coming his way. By the fifth round, Joshua controlled the pace of the fight and by the end of the sixth, it was Povetkin who was wilting.
Joshua ended the fight in spectacular fashion as he landed a right hand that nearly sent Povetkin head spinning 180 degrees and after three more power shots, Povetkin went down. Povetkin barely got back up and the referee could have easily stopped the fight but he gave the further Povetkin one more shot but it didn’t matter. One more Joshua combination had Povetkin reeling and his corner threw in towel to surrender before any further damage was done.
Joshua did what champions are supposed to do, finish off an opponent but there were flaws but also positive development. The flaws could be seen in the first round as he got nailed with power shots and his knees wobbled as a result. The positive is that he adjusted and used his jab to re-establish control of the real estate between him and Povetkin who had more difficulty getting inside.
The ending came suddenly and without warning, which is what great punchers do. One punch and the fight is over. While Povetkin looked weary going back to his corner at the end of the sixth, he did not look in trouble. The only fighter who looked in trouble over the first half of the fight was Joshua in the opening round and Povetkin landed significant power shots. Over the first half of the fight, Povetkin laned more than double the power shots than Joshua while Joshua landed nearly 11 times more jabs and that is where the fight was won.
With a potential Wilder-Joshua fight over the horizon in 2019, the Heavyweight division is becoming exciting once again with fighters that fans want to see. From 2004 through 2015, the Klitschko brothers dominated and most of their fights were in Europe, invisible to Americans fans and the lack of American heavyweights to challenge for the title dampened the excitement of American fan even further.
Now Deontay Wilder is challenging Joshua as the best of the heavyweights and he has a date with Tyson Fury, whose last big victory was his upset over Wladmir Klitschko and has won his two warm up fights in his comeback. If Wilder wins, then we are set up for the first big mega fight in the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson back in 2002.
Joshua has the kind of appeal that fills up football stadium in Great Britain and when was the last time any American fighter filled up a Stadium. Wilder now must get past Fury and while he is the favorite, Fury will be a tough fight for Wilder, a big fighter who is awkward, something that Klitschko found out when he fought Fury. If Wilder beats Fury which is he favored to do, then the big fight is on.