Another week brings another ‘rehabilitated’ drug cheat in the big fight as Anthony Joshua takes on Alexander Povetkin. This represents the first semi-final if you will in the Heavyweight division with the winner almost certainly taking on Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder to become undisputed champion. This is my preview and prediction for the Joshua v Povetkin fight.
Joshua v Povetkin Official Promo
Povetkin and Joshua have a couple of major opponents in common – Carlos Takam and of course Vladimir Klitschko. Takam was taken out in round ten which Joshua did too and Derek Chisora recently improved upon. The Klitschko fight came 2 years before Tyson Fury and 4 years before Joshua so it can be argued that Povetkin took him on at his best, ultimately losing on points.
Povetkin meets AJ off the back of a knockout victory over David Price. Not exactly a surprising result given Price’s record but he had to survive a count himself to do so. Having already put Price down the Russian met a left hook that sent him flying into the corner, stopping him from hitting the canvas. Had the bell not rung right then Price may have been able to follow up on this and score a shock win.
Povetkin regrouped and continued his strategy of hitting body shots to bring Price’s arms down and in the end scored the KO victory. In many ways Price was an ideal warm up fight. The Russian was quick and canny against his larger opponent, as AJ will be, and his bravery in the attack was rewarded. Price’s chin is almost inversely proportional to his punching power, he seriously hurts people but Povetkin took risks to land his own shots. He’s had 35 fights with just that one defeat and he poses a genuine threat to Anthony Joshua.
The Case Against AJ
I’ll start off by saying that Joshua should win so I’ll be playing devil’s advocate to an extent here but that doesn’t mean I won’t back Povetkin at the right price. I take great pleasure in baiting American boxing fans online when it comes to their beloved Deontay Wilder. The argument is obviously that Wilder has never fought anyone from a UK perspective.
The yanks think the same about AJ with the proviso that Vladimir was past his best when Joshua fought him. The counter to that is why didn’t Wilder fight him if that was the case?
But what if our pals across the pond are right? Look back on Joshua’s CV and actually there isn’t a great deal of substance. Kevin Thompson? No thanks! Dillian Whyte? His best win is his last v Joseph Parker – Parker possibly being the weakest of the most recent Champions. Klitschko? Way past his best, already dealt with by Fury.
On form either Parker, Takam and Whyte are either slightly below Joshua’s high level or it’s possible that he’s only slightly above theirs and he’s about to be found out. After all if he’s what he’s made out to be why didn’t the Joshua and Wilder fight get made? I’d happily list 5 UK fighters alone who’d spark Wilder out without any trouble so this should have been easy to arrange. There is also history of Hearn avoiding lively opponents like Erkan Teper for one. Teper is another who has sent David Price tumbling and he was by far the smaller man in that contest.
Finally, although there seems to be improvement on this front lately, Joshua is too bulked up for my liking. Watching some of his older fights recently this was highlighted a lot in commentary and it’s hard to take in enough oxygen to keep those muscles going once the bell has rung.
Interestingly some chunkier heavyweights or less ‘ripped’ ones have been going the distance of late – Whyte and Parker being an example. We’re not talking Butterbean levels here but maybe there’s logic in not beefing up too much. Joshua gassed against Whyte and Klitschko at times and noticeably paced himself against Parker to prevent this.
Eddie Hearn on Joshua v Povetkin
Joshua v Povetkin Prediction
Povetkin is clever enough to try and take Joshua off his preferred pace and this could set up a late KO for the Russian. I do believe, and hope, that Joshua wins but can’t resist the 33/1 for the Russian to win in rounds 9-12.