“You cannot hook with a hooker”, claimed Tony Bellew back in March when Alexander Povetkin had brutally knocked-out David Price with a left-hook on the under-card of Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker.
Many pundits had believed that in this fight, Joshua will keep his distance and dominate the fight with his stinging jab, just like he did against Parker. On the contrary, he constantly got inside the pocket and decided to trade hooks and upper-cuts with the Russian.
Initially Joshua’s strategy of fighting inside the pocket seemed to be an act of sheer folly, as “The White Lion” stunned the Brit with big, powerful hooks at the end of the first-round, leaving Joshua’s nose bloodied and broken. However, as the fight progressed Joshua began getting into his rhythm due to his footwork, short, yet powerful jabs, and some overhand rights.
In the following rounds, Joshua wasn’t just head-hunting, he would hit the Russian with a jab to stop him from exploding forward and would then work his body with hooks. Povetkin was still landing some good shots of his own, but he still had trouble closing the distance and Joshua would often used his footwork to perfection to avoid getting hit, whenever Povetkin rushed forward.
As the fifth-round began, the 11-year age difference started playing a factor, as the much older Russian was visibly tired and was slightly gasping for breath. This led Povetkin to become more reckless, he started throwing a lot of hay-makers which barely hit his opponent. Johsua, in turn, closed the distance and started throwing left hooks himself, as he began to impose his will and game-plan on the fight.
In the middle of the seventh-round, Joshua stunned Povetkin with an overhand right and then followed it up with a powerful left-hook to rock him. A few seconds later another left hook-overhand right combination dropped the Russian, as he struggled to get off the canvas.
The referee began the count for Povetkin, who somehow managed to get back up. However, Joshua now smelled blood, as soon as the fight was allowed to continue, he pounced on the Russian and obliterated him with a barrage of punches, only for the referee to step-in and stop the fight, as the Russian again went backwards, falling off to the canvas.
The Brit then went on to address the massive Wembley crowd and boldly stated that he is looking forward to fight WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, former disgraced champion Tyson Fury as well as Dillian Whyte.
Joshua won against one of the toughest opponents he has ever faced in career in an extremely dominating fashion. He traded hooks with a master of throwing hooks and still managed to come out on top. This fight has surely cemented his position on the top of heavyweight mountain, and also made a strong argument for him being in the pound-for-pound list.
Below is a beautiful video of the combination that AJ used to knock Povetkin out cold: