Anthony Joshua Stops Povetkin in 7thAnthony Joshua had a couple of shaky moments early on against Alexander Povetkin that made the over 80,000 fans in Wembley Stadium nervous for their countrymen. However, in the end Joshua was too big, too strong and too good for Alexander Povetkin, ultimately stopping the Russian former Olympic gold medalist in the seventh round.
The stoppage was a testament to Joshua’s power, as Povetkin had ever been stopped in his professional career, although Wladimir Klitschko did knock him down repeatedly in their 2013 bout. However, early in the fight Joshua was getting hit, likely got his nose broken, and lost a couple of rounds. On the official judge’s scorecards, Joshua lead 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55 before the stoppage, but those scorecards don’t reflect how often he was getting hit. In the end however, Joshua’s body work slowed down Povetkin enough that he became a bit of a slow-moving target for Joshua, allowing the knockout artist to finish him off with a flurry that dropped Povetkin, and forced the referee to stop the fight.
Anthony Joshua’s next fight will be on Apr. 13 in Wembley Stadium; that has already been determined. However, there are two possible opponents for that date, one which would be great and one which would not. The first option is Joshua fighting the winner of the just-made-official Dec. 1 fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in what would be an undefeated vs. undefeated bout to see who is the best heavyweight in the world. This is the fight everyone wants to see.
With a Fury win over Wilder, you would set up an all-UK fight between the most charismatic trash talker in the sport and the best heavyweight in the world, as well as a classic boxer vs. puncher matchup. With a Wilder win, you would setup a match between a pair of Olympic gold medalists and a USA vs. UK battle between two men who have stopped a combined 60 of 62 opponents as professionals.
But because this is boxing, issues have arisen. The Joshua camp is concerned that the loser of the fight will try to invoke a rematch clause, leaving Joshua on the outside looking in. Because of this, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been looking for Wilder to sign a contract for the fight before he fights Tyson Fury, while Joshua has been claiming he will fight Wilder next whether he beats Fury or not.
The other option for Joshua is a rematch with Dillian Whyte, whom he stopped in the seventh round of their fight back in 2015. This fight would be a huge letdown. Nothing against Dilllian Whyte, but with so many good heavyweights fighting today, we should not be creating rematches of fights that were not all that close the first time. Luckily for fans, there is hope. On Saturday, Whyte showed a private message between he and Joshua that showed Joshua telling Whyte he would not fight him for another two years. While we are all looking forward to Joshua’s next fight, we should take a moment to applaud him for this win. It was not an easy matchup, and he did well.
Foster Outboxes Jon FernandezSo much for the future of Spanish boxing. Yes, despite Montserrat mountains of hype, Jon Fernandez, the hard-hitting 130-pound fighter from Spain, was easily outboxed by the unheralded American O’Shaquie Foster in the main event of Friday night’s Shobox card, ultimately losing a unanimous 98-92, 98-92, 98-92 decision.
Early on, it was clear Fernandez might be in trouble. He looked far slower than Foster and struggled to cut off the ring in a way that you wouldn’t expect from a fighter with a knockout rate as high as his. Still, it was assumed that at some point Fernandez would catch Foster clean, which is what happened in the sixth round. Unfortunately for Fernandez, while his right hand landed clean at the end of the sixth round, there was not enough time left for him to capitalize on a clearly hurt Foster before the round ended. That shot was as close as Fernandez would ever come to winning the fight.
At only 23 years old, there is still time for Fernandez to improve and become the fighter so many people thought he already was. For Foster, the 25-year-old now has a marquee win to hang his hat on, and although he has already lost twice in a sixteen-fight career, he will be riding a four-fight win streak into his next match against what should be a name opponent.
Luke Campbell Avenges Loss to Yvan MendyIf you thought Yvan Mendy was frustrated about the lucrative opportunities Luke Campbell got despite Mandy having beat him in their first fight, you should have seen how frustrated he was as he lost round after round of their rematch.
Whatever Mendy did in the first match, nothing was working this time. Campbell moved, pot-shotted and made Mendy seem slow in what would ultimately be a unanimous 119-109, 118-111, 116-112 decision win. The likely difference was that this fight was Campbell’s first working with Shane McGuigan, the former trainer of guys like Carl Frampton and David Haye.
With the win, Campbell has earned a shot at the WBC lightweight title. However, with that title being held by Mikey Garcia, who seems intent on moving up in weight and fighting Errol Spence Jr., it’s unclear how that fight would be made.
Okolie Beats Askin but Fails to Win over FansWith a story like Lawrence Okolie’s, it’s hard to imagine not rooting for him. With a performance like his on Saturday, it’s hard to imagine ever wanting to watch him fight again. Yes, while Okolie won a unanimous 116-110, 114-112, 114-113 decision over Matty Askin, his sportsmanship and entertainment factor led to him being booed at the end of the fight.
Okolie was docked three points during the fight for leading with both his head and his shoulder and excessive holding, and provided little offense against his underwhelming opponent, choosing instead to remain safely on the outside of his shorter opponent. With the win, Okolie became the British cruiserweight champion. Let’s hope he does better next time.
David Price Stopped by Kuzmin after Suffering InjuryAnd finally, longtime heavyweight journeyman David Price retired on his stool in the fourth round with a bicep tear, an injury he would go on to tell the media he suffered in in training for the fight. The win moved Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin to 13-0 with ten knockouts, while Price fell to 22-6, with losses in three of his last four fights.
With all due respect to Price, boxers need to either pull out of fights or never mention pre-existing injuries after the fact again. While cancelled fights are unfortunate, nothing is worse than guys underperforming, then citing an injury they suffered in training. For the winning fighter, it mars their victory, for fans, it feels like false advertising and unless the fighter can produce proof of when and how the injury occurred, it makes them look like they’re crying sour grapes. Let’s stop doing that.
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