Joshua TKOs Povetkin: Win as big as Klitschko bout
Missed the Joshua vs Povetkin fight?
Many casual fans who did will simply insist heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua did what was expected - He stopped Alexander Povetkin in Round 7 to retain his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles.
What they won't tell you is how well Alex was performing prior to the TKO and how he'd bloodied and buckled the champion early.
Boxing experts understood the dangerous challenge the 39 year old Povetkin posed. And, until the KO, Povetkin was living up to those expectations.
So, what makes this win as impressive as Joshua's stoppage over fight legend Wladimir Klitschko last year?
1) AJ overcame a legitimate, elite-level threat in a bout that was more of a title defense than high-profile, high-money superfight.
2) After being stymied and bloodied, Joshua was able to deal with craftiness of an opponent who gave him unusual looks and unleashed combinations from unconventional angles.
3) Anthony, instead of using his speed and quickness to carry him to a points verdict, stopped Alex inside the distance, something Wlad nor anyone else had done.
Povetkin threw 'the kitchen sink' at him and Joshua didn't falter.
It's easy for a fighter to get motivated for the big ones. But, it's fights like this, against the 'Povetkins' of boxing, that sometimes prove to be the biggest hurdle for up-and-coming stars.
For Anthony Joshua, there was no underrating Wladimir Klitschko last year. We knew both men would be in top form and supremely prepared mentally and physically. And we know, should they fight one another, Joshua and Deontay Wilder will be fully prepared for the assignment at-hand.
... But Povetkin was one of those opponents who could fly under the radar. He was an extrememly solid but underrated foe who was easy to overlook and, in many ways, the perfect opponent to deliver a set back.
Tonight, Anthony Joshua showed a lot of tenacity, technique and maturity by rebounding from a shaky start to stave off a hungry, determined opponent who is arguably the No. 3 heavyweight in the world.
How many times have we seen a young, overly confident, seemingly dominant fighter to get humbled by an older, more experienced, often overlooked foe?
Wladimir Klitschko vs Sanders, Mercer vs Holmes, Trinidad vs Hopkins, Barkley vs Duran, Lewis vs McCall I and so on...
With tonight's impressive stoppage of highly-ranked Alexander Povetkin, Anthony Joshua has proven he can rise to the occasion against a threatening, top-flight, more experienced opponent even if that opponent - and the match-up itself - isn't given the appropriate respect or top billing by the public.
Joshua vs Povetkin highlights