Anthony Joshua brought the Wembley crowd to its feet on Saturday evening with a stunning 7th round performance to stop Alexander Povetkin, and defend his world heavyweight titles.
His opponent, the White Lion, had never been stopped before, and had only lost once in his illustrious career; a points decision against the former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko.
And like Klitschko, Povetkin would play his part in another classic fight in front of 80,000 fans at the national football stadium.
After a tentative start to the fight, it was the challenger that landed the first notable shots as the opening round drew to a close. Dealing with a bloodied nose, Joshua took a few rounds to settle into the bout, whilst Povetkin demonstrated his credentials with a whirlwind offence.
As the challenger came forward, AJ operated behind his jab, carefully selecting his shots. With Povetkin’s gung-ho style, he was never going to be too difficult for AJ to find, and Joshua duly found him in the fifth round: a huge right-hand from the champ connected cleanly with his opponent and opened up a nasty cut above their left eye.
Wembley were witnessing a war unfolding between the two fighters, although they respectfully touched gloves in between rounds. But by the sixth round, Joshua had found his rhythm and looked the more comfortable fighter, as he started to take control of proceedings.
With the fight still appearing to be in the balance, AJ stunned Povetkin in the seventh and never let him off the hook. With both hands packing equal measures of power, the champ picked off his opponent in clinical fashion with several combinations.
A dazed Povetkin showed courage to beat the ten count, but as soon as he returned to the centre of the ring, Joshua produced another flurry of power shots to finish the contest.
The unified champion returns to Wembley on 13 April with his next opponent still to be confirmed. Although the WBC champion Deontay Wilder remains at the top of AJ’s wish list.
“There’s a day and location, It’s just down to the person who wants to step up and fight me for what I have,” Joshua said.
“There’s a venue and a date booked. We know who we want. We know who the fans want. So whoever is up for it is welcome to step in. These guys (Wilder’s team) are just difficult. We’ll get there in the end. We have to. We’re in the same division, it’s the same era. There’s no way we can’t fight.”
Deontay Wilder is scheduled to fight Tyson Fury on 1 December. His WBC belt would complete the set for Anthony Joshua, whose mission remains to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
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