Joshua knocks out Povetkin: how pundits and boxing fans reacted
British star retains his titles after seventh-round stoppage at Wembley - and targets Deontay Wilder next
Anthony Joshua returned to top form last night as he knocked out Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round of the heavyweight title bout at Wembley Stadium.
The British boxer retained his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts after holding off an early attack from the Russian and stopped the 39-year-old with a devastating finish in the seventh.
More than 80,000 fans celebrated Joshua’s win and they will now look forward to his next fight at Wembley - planned for 13 April 2019. His opponent could be American Deontay Wilder or fellow Briton Tyson Fury, who have confirmed they will fight on 1 December, says the BBC.
After his victory Joshua, 28, said that WBC champion Wilder is his No.1 target as he looks to unify the heavyweight division next year. Speaking to Sky Sports, Joshua said: “I got my knockout streak back. I found my right hand which had gone missing for a while.
“13 April is what I’m really interested in. My No.1 would be Wilder. That’s it. Let me not talk about No.2 or No3. Wilder, that’s it.”
‘Joshua is not even close’
With Wilder the No.1 target, Fury accused Joshua and his team of avoiding an all-British mega-bout “at all costs”, ESPN reports.
In a video posted on Instagram, Fury said: “I think it’s safe to say now that not team Joshua or Matchroom will ever fight the Gypsy King. Never. They mentioned if it’s not [Deontay] Wilder it’ll be [Dillian] Whyte, there’s no mention of Tyson Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion of the world.
“It’s alright fighting men who are 39 years old, half your size. Tonight is pure evidence that I’m fighting the best heavyweight out there in Deontay Wilder. Joshua is not even close. He’s slow, methodical, ponderous at times. Powerful yes, but they all are.
“Very, very clear to say ‘avoid me at all costs’. If I was you Joshua I’d avoid me because I would jab your face off, you bum. I’ve never seen a bigger bum in my life.”
Reaction to Joshua’s win over Povetkin
Joshua maintained his unbeaten record and now has 22 wins from 22 professional fights, with 21 by knockout. Here we look at the media and Twitter reaction to his impressive win against mandatory challenger Povetkin.
Mike Costello, BBC Sport boxing correspondent: “It was a brilliantly placed and timed right hand. He was getting the measure of Povetkin in the early rounds. Unlike Carlos Takam and Parker - Joshua’s last two opponents - Povetkin was here to win. I think the quality of opponent, for all Povetkin has done, for me, the way he was beaten makes it the most impressive display of Joshua’s career.”
Steve Bunce, BBC Radio 5 live boxing expert: “It was a cracking right hand. I don’t think Joshua was hurt or stung at all and that’s an achievement. He was moving great, throwing different shots, so it was controlled and he didn’t waste anything.”
Richard Damerell, Sky Sports: “A straight right hand sent shockwaves through the legs of Povetkin, and a left hook followed by a right sent him crashing to the canvas. Povetkin clambered upwards in a daze and Joshua delivered a succession of crunching shots to seal a stunning triumph.”
Paul Hayward, The Daily Telegraph: “These 80,000 sell-outs have become a blessing and a burden for Joshua. The money and excitement they generate are offset by the raising of public expectation to unreasonable heights. And everything to lose. Yet Joshua came through it, despite needing time to find his range with the jab, and the pressure now is on Wilder and Fury to match this level of destruction.”
Oliver Holt, Daily Mail: “Joshua showed once more that he is the real deal. This was his 22nd win from 22 fights, his 21st by knockout. He showed once more that he can deal with adversity. He showed he has got guts and guile and heart, and that he can demolish the most stubborn and the most doughty of opponents. Only the most parsimonious will deny him the credit he deserves now.”
Tom Hamilton, ESPN: “Joshua remains triumphant, the burden and acclaim of that undefeated moniker still hovering above his name, waiting for challenger after challenger. Those four belts will go back into their box and wait for the next stop on the AJ roadshow, unaffected by just how close their owner had come to relinquishing them.”