By Igor Lazorin, tass
Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin admitted that IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was the stronger fighter in their showdown on Saturday night at Wembley in London.
Before a crowd of 80,000 fans, Povetkin was putting in a solid effort and landing more than a handful of punches of Joshua, who was bleeding from his nose and got rattled in the first round.
Povetkin was rocked during the seventh round, and then a series of punches sent him down. He got up, but was soon battered before the referee jumped in to wave off the fight. Povetkin's trainer was coming in to stop the fight as well.
Povetkin, an Olympic gold medal winner and former WBA champion, suffered the first stoppage loss of his pro career. His other defeat, which took place in 2013, was a decision loss to Wladimir Klitschko.
After the fight Povetkin was given some minor medical aid. In particular, a doctor put an oxygen mask on him.
"I want to thank everyone who was concerned and worried about me. I'm all right, I lost the fight. Although I felt like I was leading it, I missed a punch [and then got countered], and then you can't do anything anymore. Joshua was stronger," Povetkin said.
"I feel good," - when he was questioned about his health.
Povetkin's trainer, Andrey Ryabinsky, was proud of his boxer's performance and also gave full credit to Joshua.
"The English public loves it when the fighter fights to the end, even if he loses. Today, Alexander fought to the end, he showed character, and from this point of view there are no complaints. This is boxing," Ryabinsky said.
"Today Joshua turned out to be stronger, and we congratulate him on this, and we'll think about what we're going to do next. The fight was great."