Anthony Joshua defended his world heavyweight titles with a devastating knockout of Alexander Povetkin after overcoming an early onslaught from the Russian at Wembley.
It was a cagey start as they felt each other out, a phoney war until Povetkin exploded with a three-punch combination which clearly buckled the Briton. It felt a little like Russian roulette at times. There was more animated talk in the corner between rounds than we have ever witnessed from trainer Rob McCracken. Joshua needed it. He needed acuity here.
In the fourth, a brilliant uppercut from Joshua bust the eyelid above Povetkin’s left eye, and clearly it lifted the defending champion. As the fight played out through the fifth and sixth rounds, Povetkin was made to miss more, and when shots did land, the champion simply nodded and waved his rival in. His confidence was growing, and as the older man by 11 years began to tire, Joshua finished emphatically.
The British star dropped Povetkin with a brutal assault in the seventh round and then floored the WBA mandatory challenger again to signal a sudden and dramatic ending to his title defence.
When the referee Steve Gray stepped in between them to rescue Povetkin, after the sensational finish, the 80,000 crowd here erupted. Such relief. Joshua had been 4-2 down on this card.
There is so much at stake every time he fights. Millions watched at home in the UK and in the United States, where the Briton with the Adonis-like physique was making his first appearance on the streaming network DAZN in the US, and four other territories, the platform a part of the network owned by British billionaire Sir Len Blavatnik.
Yo Anthony Joshua just made Povetkin to see stars 😭
Felt that punch in my soul 😩😩 K.O 🥊 pic.twitter.com/VRlijDsHlj
— ♠️ (@TheIfee) September 22, 2018