By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua doesn’t deny that Alexander Povetkin can punch.
The former WBA heavyweight champion clearly was dangerous during their title fight Saturday night in London. Joshua contends he wasn’t “hurt,” however, when Povetkin caught him with a three-punch combination that knocked Joshua off balance late in the first round.
“It wasn’t that I was hurt,” Joshua told IFL TV after he stopped Povetkin in the seventh round. “He’s throwing the uppercut-left hook, and as I coming up [I’m] off balance. So it wasn’t like – it didn’t hurt me to the point where I was like, ‘Hang on a minute, I don’t know where my senses are.’ It was a good shot. That’s the best way to put it. He hit me with a good shot. But I’ve gotta take it and bounce back. And it just busted my nose.”
Russia’s Povetkin caught Joshua with a crisp combination – a left hook, a right uppercut and another left hook. The uppercut didn’t land flush, but it helped bloody Joshua’s nose.
The 6-feet-6, 246-pound Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) took several more powerful punches from Povetkin (34-2, 24 KOs) during the course of their scheduled 12-round fight. None of those shots seemed to affect Joshua like the combination the 6-feet-2, 222-pound Povetkin landed in the first round.
“He had potential to [hurt me],” Joshua said. “He’s strong. I can’t lie. You know, I don’t really respect like 15-stone people’s power and stuff like that. You know, 15 stone is not gonna really be able to do much. But he’s strong and he’s quick. At that weight, he’s very quick. So no, he didn’t [hurt me]. He could’ve. If I let him hit me with certain shots, it could’ve been dangerous. But you’ve gotta ride ‘em and just learn how to take ‘em. But certain fighters, I think he could cause a lot of problems.”
Joshua wore down Povetkin before hurting him badly with a right hand just prior to the halfway point of the seventh round. Povetkin stumbled backward, which initiated the beginning of the end of their fight.
Joshua then landed a right hand to the body, a left hook to the head and a devastating right hand that knocked down Povetkin. The stunned challenger reached his feet, but Joshua attacked him and knocked him down a second time by drilling him with another crushing right hand.
Referee Steve Gray stepped in and immediately waved an end to the action at 1:59 of the seventh round.
The 28-year-old Joshua became the first fighter to knock out Povetkin. His lone previous defeat came against Wladimir Klitschko, who dropped Povetkin four times on his way to winning a wide unanimous decision in their October 2013 bout in Moscow.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.