By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua wasn’t at all disappointed about going the distance for the first time as a pro in his last fight.
The gigantic knockout artist took some criticism for not fighting more aggressively against previously unbeaten Joseph Parker in that 12-round heavyweight title unification fight. Joshua was intent, though, to show he could do more than knock out opponents when he squared off with New Zealand’s Parker on March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) believes he showed another facet of his skill set by patiently out-boxing the 6-feet-4, 240-pound Parker (24-2, 18 KOs), who lost the WBO championship to the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. England’s Joshua won a unanimous decision and topped Parker by large margins on all three scorecards (119-109, 118-110, 118-110).
“No one could ever say, ‘Joshua can box,’ ” Joshua told Sky Sports for a story posted to the network’s website Monday. “They can say he’s a king of destruction, he can fight, he can knock people out. It looked so easy after 16 fights, but they could never say I boxed. So after this fight, I knew that no one could tell me nothing.
“I will show the world that amongst other tricks, I still have other stuff in the locker. This fight, honestly, hand on heart, was showing at a championship level I can out-maneuver and out-think a fighter like Joseph Parker.”
Joshua will encounter an even more experienced, skilled opponent Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London (Sky Sports Box Office; DAZN). Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, and Joshua himself have stated that they expect a more difficult fight from the 39-year-old Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) than the lopsided odds suggest.
Russia’s Povetkin, the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBA title, has lost only to Wladimir Klitschko. The retired Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) dominated Povetkin on his way to winning their championship unification fight by unanimous decision in October 2013, about 3½ years before Joshua overcame a sixth-round knockdown to stop Klitschko in the 11th round of their unforgettable slugfest.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.