Anthony Joshua KOs Alexander Povetkin to retain world heavyweight titles

Pippa Field
Anthony Joshua celebrates making it 22 wins unbeaten - Getty Images Europe

Anthony Joshua clinically stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles and reaffirm his status as the world's leading heavyweight.

Since adding his third world title with March's victory over Joseph Parker, the return of Tyson Fury and frustration over his inability to secure a unification match-up with WBC champion Deontay Wilder has threatened that very reputation.

That an estimated 68,000 were present at Wembley Stadium - significantly fewer than the 90,000-strong crowd that attended last year's victory over Wladimir Klitschko - demonstrated that, but he professionally overcame an opponent of ambition and class.

The 39-year-old Povetkin, like Joshua an Olympic gold medallist, had previously lost only to Klitschko and over the distance when the great Ukrainian was at his peak. Joshua capitalised on his aggression in a way that Klitschko could not, dropping him once before stopping him on his feet.

Joshua had spoken in the week of feeling "tons of pressure" to perform and the confirmation of the December 1 date for the higher-profile fight between Wilder and Fury will not have helped, but if he felt that pressure in the ring, it did not show.

With the physical advantages over an opponent who fought Klitschko on the same evening Joshua made his professional debut, it would have proved a significant upset had the champion secured anything other than his latest victory.

11:06PM

Hearn has his say

Promoter Eddie Hearn has been in the ring and talked up what is next for his fighter.

​"Joshua is the one stepping up fighting these great fighters. He's not an Instagram champion, he's a real world champion. Our focus is on AJ being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

"He'll keep delivering, he's a special talent, he's a role model, onwards and upwards. Povetkin is a world-class boxer.

"We'll go away and negotiate with Wilder's team again, who knows if Fury-Wilder will even happen?

"If it's not Deontay Wilder, I think it'll be Dillian Whyte here in April.

11:03PM

Next up? Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder?

Mark your diary for April 13 next year...

"Tonight is out of the way, let's figure out what is happening on April 13. 

I'm not too bothered, good luck to the both of them but let's see who comes out on top and hopefully we'll have a good dust-up on April 13."

Anthony Joshua celebrates with the IBF, WBA Super, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight belts Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

10:57PM

"I got my knockout streak back"

"Povetkin is a very tough challenger, he proved that tonight with good left hooks and counter punches.

I came in here to have fun, and give it my best,

I knew he was strong to the head but weak to the body. I was just mixing it up.

It could have been seven, maybe nine, maybe 12 rounds to get him out of there. But the ultimate aim was to be victorious

I got my knockout streak back."

10:53PM

Joshua speaks

Wembley, thank you so much. Everyone involved, Team Povetkin, thanks.

10:53PM

Joshua does the business

10:52PM

Joshua retains his titles

Joshua keeps hold of the WBA, (Super) IBF, WBO and IBO belts.

That's the first time Povetkin has been stopped in his career. Brutal punching from Joshua there.

10:50PM

Joshua the predator

After two slower opening rounds, Joshua found his range in that fight.

And it was a series of accurate combinations which did it in the seventh round, first with an overhand right and then some big lefts.

Make that 22 professional wins unbeaten. 

Anthony Joshua on the way to beating Povetkin by knockout Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

10:45PM

Anthony Joshua wins in round seven by knockout

AJ does it again! 

A fierce right hander has Povetkin stunned. And then Joshua goes in for the kill, unleashing a volley of shots.

Povetkin goes down on the canvas, tries to get back up but Joshua lands a killer blow.

10:41PM

Round six

Many pre-fight predictions were that Povetkin would be very dangerous in the first four to five rounds before perhaps fading. We're into round six.

The crowd roars as Joshua lands a couple of quick combinations. But another upper cut from Povetkin makes it through the Briton's defence. 

Joshua is boxing well and dictating things but the Russian is still a serious threat. All it takes is one shot.

10:38PM

Round five

Both fighters appear to have recovered from those early blows to the face. That's a hard-fought round.

When Povetkin gets in close, he looks threatening. Joshua needs to keep an eye on that.  

10:33PM

Round four

Better from Joshua.

Joshua lands one on Povetkin's face early in the fourth round as his right hander makes it through and cuts the Russian's left eye. More blood in this fight.

Povetkin's tactics are about the power shots. But AJ seems to be finding his range and is moving well around the ring.

10:29PM

Round three

Joshua is struggling to settle here against his 39-year-old opponent. Another left from the Russian creeps through.

But the Brit finishes the round in better fashion with some clever counter work. Probably about even that round.

 

10:25PM

Round Two

Drama already as that late round one attack from Povetkin, wearing black shorts, looks to have landed a blow on Joshua's nose and there is blood. Could that impact upon the Briton's breathing later on?

Joshua aims to consolidate in round two but Povetkin lands a right hander. Povetkin already trying to bring his dangerous left hook into play too. Joshua ends with a couple of jabs.

10:22PM

Round One

End of the first round. Joshua, wearing white shorts, looked to control the middle of the ring. 

But Povetkin, dangerous when he gets up close, looked to close gap to his opponent. The Russian finished strongly with a clever combination as Joshua stumbled slightly.

10:14PM

Steve Gray the third man in the ring

For those interested, Fleetwood's Steve Gray is the referee. The fifth time he has taken control of a Joshua fight.

Let's get ready to rumble...

10:12PM

Tale of the tape

10:09PM

Will AJ rock Wembley?

Joshua has opted for a spot of 'We will rock you' by Queen to start his ring walk before rapper Nines takes over as the Briton makes his way to the ring.

Anthony Joshua makes his way to the ring Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

10:04PM

Let's get this party started

Master of ceremonies Michael Buffer is on the mic. It's mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin who enters first. He's 'greeted' by a number of boos. He carries the hopes of a Russian nation. Can he inflict a first professional defeat on Anthony Joshua?

9:57PM

Wembley Stadium ready

Fair to say the weather isn't dampening spirits inside Wembley Stadium. The atmosphere is electric. 

Just need the boxers now.

Wembley Stadium for the Joshua vs Povetkin fight Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

9:55PM

Respective records

Joshua: 21 professional fights, no losses, 20 KOs

Povetkin: 35 professional fights, one loss, 24 KOs

Impressive.

9:51PM

Time for the main event

Undercard done and dusted. The focus is now firmly on Joshua vs Povetkin. Strap yourself in, it's going to be good. Ring walk coming shortly.

9:45PM

Campbell wins

Campbell avenges his shock split-decision loss against Mendy in London from December 2015.

It's a unanimous decision for the London 2012 Olympic champion. And he's now the mandatory contender for WBC lightweight championship.

9:44PM

Okolie has his say

In the interest of fairness, here's Okolie's reaction on social media to his win.

9:40PM

"Robbed of my title"

While we wait for the result of Campbell-Mendy, looks like we haven't heard the last of Okolie's British cruiserweight victory over Matty Askin, which was greeted by boos from the crowd...

9:35PM

Going the distance?

Into the 12th round between Luke Campbell and Yvan Mendy in the WBC lightweight final eliminator.

Campbell has been looking very strong so far. Plenty of desire from Frenchman Mendy who upped things in the 11th round but Campbell has boxed very clever.

Luke Campbell takes on Yvan Mendy Credit: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

9:29PM

Joshua "too fast and too strong"

The Telegraph's chief sports writer Paul Hayward wrote earlier this week that Joshua should be allowed time to achieve world domination.

He's going for a Joshua win tonight.

9:26PM

Bumper pay day?

Ever wondered how much a fight like this can earn a boxer?

It is believed that Joshua, as the higher profile of the two, will earn 20 million pounds and Povetkin 6 million pounds.

Probably not going to be the main thing going through their minds in the ring. But nice to know.

9:23PM

Time for focus

Over in the Povetkin camp, the Russian has been running through his preparations with around 30 minutes until the ring walk.

9:17PM

AJ: "You've got to deliver"

A cool and composed-looking Joshua has been talking to the Sky Sports cameras. He's aiming to give the Wembley crowd plenty to cheer.

"You have got to keep that hunger. You can always fight like you've got something to lose, but I fight like I've got something to gain.

"You have dreams of fighting the best and of being the best. You have to listen to what the people say, they want it and you've got to deliver. I hope I can perform and give them what they want."

Anthony Joshua wants to put on a performance Credit: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

9:12PM

Tale of the tape

Many believe tonight's fight will represent Joshua's toughest test since the 11th-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.

He weighed in at almost two stone heavier than his opponent on Friday, is four inches taller and has a greater reach by seven inches. 

But Povetkin has been defeated just once in his 35-bout pro career.

9:07PM

'Top tier of boxing'

Negotiations for a unification fight between Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder ended in frustration and that led to tonight's fight with the less glamorous Povetkin.

But there won't be any underestimating of the Russian from the Joshua camp, according to his trainer Rob McCracken:

“I think the boxing industry knows it’s a tough fight. Povetkin is a former world champion and Olympic champion. He’s at the top tier of boxing and one of the top three heavyweights out there. It doesn’t get any tougher than this.”

9:03PM

Famous faces watch

You can bet there will be a fair share of famous celebrity faces in the crowd tonight.

 Three-division world boxing champion Vasyl Lomachenko is already in the house.

9:00PM

Best betting offers

Time is ticking and that ring walk is probably about an hour away now

You can get the best betting offers for Joshua vs Povetkin here

8:56PM

Povetkin background

As well as both possessing impressive professional records in the ring, Joshua and Povetkin can also boast to being Olympic champions. Povetkin at Athens 2004 and Joshua at London 2012.

Since turning pro, Povetkin has a 34-1 record. But he wasn't always keen to become a professional.

That one loss, by a unanimous decision, came against Wladimir Klitschko in October 5, 2013, incidentally the same day Joshua was making his professional debut against Emanuele Leo.

8:42PM

Joshua's Nigerian roots

 In the meantime, back to arguably the real reason we're all here tonight then...Joshua vs Povetkin

With a little under two hours til the fight begins, plenty of time to cast your eyes over a fascinating background piece on the Brit by The Telegraph's chief sports feature writer Oliver Brown.

8:38PM

Okolie becomes British champion

After two short fights, the battle for the British cruiserweight title just went the distance between Matty Askin and Lawrence Okolie.

Okolie, 2016 Olympic silver medallist, came through on a unanimous decision but it was far from a memorable one. Scrappy and met by a number of boos in the stadium. Ouch.

Hopefully Luke Campbell can lift the mood in his rematch with Yvan Mendy...

Lawrence Okolie punches Matty Askin during the British Cruiserweight Championship title fight Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

8:33PM

Undercard update

Talking of the undercard, there's already been some results from Wembley Stadium...

First up Shakhram Giyasov beat Julio Laguna in the welterweight contest to maintain his unbeaten record (Rnd 4 TKO)

Then there was disappointment for Liverpool's David Price who retired after four rounds against Sergey Kuzmin due to a bicep injury. The two were fighting for the vacant WBA inter-continental heavyweight title.

“I had a slight tear in the right bicep but we had to take the fight and take a chance. Hopefully we can do it again because I think our styles gel.”

David Price retires at Wembley Stadium Credit: Nick Pott/Pa Wire

8:25PM

Ponchos at the ready

Promoters have been saying 80,000 people will be packed into Wembley for tonight's fight. The early birds have already been kitted out against the rain.

Lots of empty seats despite a packed undercard line up. Expect it to fill up later on though

Fans enjoy the pre fight atmosphere in the stands  Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

8:15PM

AJ vs Povetkin - the lowdown 

This fight, which will see Joshua defend his IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight belts, has been dominating the sporting headlines in recent days.

But in case you've been hiding under a rock, here's The Telegraph's boxing correspondent Gareth A Davies giving his own preview. 

8:05PM

Ready to rumble

Tonight's ring walk is expected to take place around 10pm with the fight itself starting nearer to 10.30pm.

There's plenty of build up to come between now and then though to whet the appetite.

8:01PM

Boxers in the stadium

 After all the build up, all the talking, it's almost time for Anthony Joshua to take on mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.

It's been a cold, wet day in the English capital but expect the temperature to rise inside Wembley Stadium over the next few hours.

Joshua and Povetkin arrived at the stadium shortly after 7.30pm to begin their final preparations. 

 

7:57PM

Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin

Anthony Joshua returns to the ring at Wembley Stadium this evening as he takes on Alexander Povetkin.

Joshua, 28, is looking to protect his WBO, WBA, IBF heavyweight titles against the WBA's mandatory challenger from Russia.

At 39 years, he is 11 years Joshua's senior but has a proven pedigree in the ring having been defeated just once in 35 fights across a 13-year career.

That one loss, by a unanimous decision, came against Wladimir Klitschko in October 5, 2013, incidentally the same day Joshua was making his professional debut against Emanuele Leo.

The Briton has gone on to record a further 20 professional victories, including the famous 11th-round stoppage of Klitschko in April 2017.

His most recent win came against Joseph Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium in March where he was taken the distance for the first time but a points win saw him add the WBO title to his WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles. 

Povetkin, despite being four inches shorter and almost two stone lighter, is expected to give Joshua his biggest challenge since the showdown with Klitschko.

Returning to fight at Wembley for the first time since that night, Joshua has admitted the fear of losing is always there and that he will have to be at his best to beat his opponent.

“I am the best in the division. There is no doubt about it,” said Joshua. “It’s been proven. There hasn’t been a time in boxing since I’ve been an amateur that I haven’t been on top. At whatever level I was at, I have always been able to get to the top. But one punch can change the course of a fight. 

“I’m up against one of the best fighters in the world. We’re not talking about Great Britain, this is the world, he’s a top-three fighter in the world, so I have got to be on my ‘A’ game.”

Negotiations for a unification fight between Joshua and WBC champion Deontay Wilder ended in frustration and that led to tonight's fight with the less glamorous Povetkin.

But Povetkin, who knocked out David Price on the Joshua/Parker undercard in Cardiff, is not to be underestimated. 

“The battle for the world title has always been my goal. I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the world," he said. 

“The meeting of two Olympic champions in the ring is destined to be a breath-taking event.”