Anthony Joshua made a big statement on Saturday night with a 7th round stoppage of tough Russian Alexander Povetkin. Povetkin started well in front of a packed Wembley crowd, and managed to land some explosive and fast punches early in the fight. A first-round combination resulted in a suspected broken nose for Joshua, and the Russian may have sensed he was struggling to breathe through the nose. Povetkin delivered some impressive hooks and uppercuts in fast combinations which appeared to give the world champion problems. Many at ringside, including David Haye commentating and Tony Bellew screaming orders from ringside for his fellow Brit were visibly concerned.
Joshua, who defended his WBA, WBO and IBF titles, struggled to time the smaller more agile fighter but was having success with jabs to the body. Povetkin at 39 was always destined to fade, especially after starting so strongly. As the fight wore on Joshua began to gain more rhythm but the rounds were still close and difficult to score.
In the 7th round, Joshua using the low jab set-up Povetkin and opened up with a ferocious combination to floor the Russian for the first time in the fight. Povetkin managed to get to his feet but looked unsteady. The referee allowed the fight to continue but waved off the fight after Joshua went in for the finish and floored Povetkin with a second barrage. Povetkin’s cornerman also jumped onto the ring apron to confirm he wanted the fight stopped and to prevent his fighter being badly hurt.
At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Joshua ahead on the scorecards, 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55. This was probably a bit flattering towards the champion and did not represent Povetkin’s early dominance. However, in front of a partisan British crowd and as Matchroom’s golden goose, it was going to take a miracle to dethrone AJ on the scorecards. Povetkin probably knew this, and was looking to catch Joshua with one of his power punches to end the fight.
Joshua does not bring the long amateur background or pro experience of Povetkin, but he is learning fast. In previous fights, we have seen him empty the gas tank and punch himself out several times. Against Povetkin, he picked his moment perfectly and become the first man to stop the Russian, who had only one previous loss on his record to Wladimir Klitschko who now moves to 34 wins and 2 losses.
I believed many fans had underrated Povetkin, and he showed what he was capable of in the early rounds. This makes the Joshua win even more impressive for me. Yet again he overcame the adversity of the broken nose and finished the fight in-style. No disrespect to Joseph Parker, but this is his most impressive win after Klitschko
Joshua Povetkin Post Fight Betting Analysis and In-Play Trade
Looking for value in this fight was difficult as with all Joshua fights. He is often the overwhelming favourite providing little value in betting on the champion. I initially considered both fighters to be knocked down during the fight, but on careful consideration decided against this bet. Povetkin is a decent finisher and if he put Joshua down he would go in for the finish; something with Klitschko neglected to do against AJ in their unification fight. Vice versa, AJ is learning to utilise his heavy firepower more efficiently and effectively as he gains experience. A point which he exactly proved in round 7.
As the fight drew near I had no position and it was looking like a fight I was not going to get involved with. I would pay £19.95 to Mr Eddie Hearm and settle down to enjoy the fight as a fan. But there was a glaring opportunity which had been sat in the back of my mind. To back Povetkin.
I previously stated in my build up to Filip Hrgović v Amir Mansour that I am reluctant to bet against clear betting favourites. The underdog often has more than just the hometown fighter or upcoming prospect to beat. My bet on Mansour at 16/1 was pure value. I have seen Mansour fight and he is a more than capable wiley old brawler, at that price there was enough doubt to make it worth a bet. The big problem with the Mansour bet was the lack of action on the exchanges so I had to make my bet on a sportsbook with no trade-out or in-play options. Before the fight, the odds on Mansour had halved and would have been a straightforward trade, but it wasn’t to be.
With Joshua v Povetkin there was plenty of action. To make a Povetkin bet worthwhile I wanted to ensure a trade was within the realms of possibility. My opinion on Povetkin’s strategy coming into the fight was split between two ideas. He had come in at 15st 12lbs at the weigh-in, 7lbs lighter than his previous fight against David Price. It would make sense he was aiming for speed, with fast hands and feet to take the fight to Joshua early, but I also wondered if he was hoping to take the fight to the later rounds hoping Joshua would gas.
I did not like the idea Povetkin was hoping to take the fight into the later rounds. At 39 it would have been a peculiar strategy against the younger man. If Povetkin was going to make a move, and take what might be his final opportunity at a world title, it was likley to be early and not left in the hands of the judges.
Just before the main event, after a poor undercard, I took a position on the Betfair exchange for Povetkin by KO, TKO or DQ at 9.4. I didn’t have time to write a review for the fight because up until just before the ring walks I was still looking for a position. I only placed a small bet, but there was a good potential return if Povetkin started fast, and I was hoping for an early knockdown.
The first round nose damage did little to change the market. The second round saw some crisp combinations land from Povetkin and the price started to move. During the third round, Povetkin continued to look dangerous and the lay odds had dropped to 4.3. At this point, I traded out doubled my initial stake. I was thinking I was too conservative initially, as the lay odds momentarily went below 4. But with Johusa gaining more momentum the odds rose back to my initial entry price.
It was a textbook trade timed perfectly. It also allowed me to make a profit and continue to watch the fight and enjoy the victory as a boxing fan. Not something that is always possible when you have a position on the fight.
What next Anthony Joshua?
Matchroom boxing has Wembley booked for April the 13th 2019 for AJ’s next fight, now they just need an opponent. A unification mega-fight with Deontay Wilder is the ideal situation. Such a fight would be a 50-50 fight. Joshua is the better boxer, but with Wilders unorthodox reckless technique and destructive power, anything is possible. If the Wilder does not materialise then a rematch with Dillian Whyte is possible. Let’s hope either fight will present some great trading opportunities for sports bettors.