By Keith Idec
Alexander Povetkin’s return to London unfolded much different than his previous appearance there.
The 39-year-old Povetkin out-worked an uninspired Hughie Fury and won a 12-round unanimous decision in their heavyweight fight Saturday night at O2 Arena. Russia’s Povetkin (35-2, 24 KOs), a former WBA heavyweight champ, defeated Fury by the same score, 117-111, on the cards on judges Jean Robert Laine, Grzegorz Molenda and Robert Williams.
England’s Fury (23-3, 13 KOs), a cousin of lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, has now lost three 12-round decisions in the past two years.
Povetkin fought for the first time in the 11 months since Anthony Joshua knocked him out in the seventh round September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Fury fought just seven weeks before boxing Povetkin. He stopped former WBC champ Samuel Peter in the seventh round of that bout July 12 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Fury, clearly behind on the scorecards, didn’t show much urgency in the championship rounds and appeared content to go the distance.
A jab by Povetkin knocked Fury backward with 1:40 to go in the 12th round. Fury continued to hold and move for most of the final round.
Fury was more aggressive in the 11th round than he was during the 10th round, which he mostly spent holding and moving. Another looping right hand by Povetkin caught Fury as he came forward just before the midway mark of the 11th round.
A cut opened over Fury’s left eye in the ninth round. Povetkin landed two hard right hands in the ninth round as well.
Neither of those shots hurt Fury, but he seemed tired and couldn’t keep Povetkin off him.
With 55 seconds to go in the eighth round, Povetkin drilled Fury with an overhand right. Fury took that punch well, but it encouraged Povetkin to keep throwing hard shots.
Fury caught Povetkin with an overhand right just after the midway point of the seventh round. Povetkin hit Fury with a looping right hand later in the seventh.
Fury pumped his jab at times in the fifth and sixth rounds, yet he couldn’t prevent Povetkin from coming forward. Povetkin landed two hard right hands within the first 25 seconds of the fourth round.
Fury did a lot of holding in the third round. Povetkin kept trying to sneak right hands around Fury’s guard in the third round.
Fury spent most of the second round working off his jab and trying to keep out of Povetkin’s punching range.
Fury pushed out of a clinch, and he landed a right and a left just before the first round ended. Povetkin connected with a short right hand earlier in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.