Joshua vs. Povetkin: Joshua says he’s going to shut Povetkin down early
By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua is wary of the punching power of the much shorter and older 39-year-old Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), so he plans on shutting him down early on this Saturday night to keep him from getting untracked in their fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) has no other choice but to try and get the 6’2” Povetkin out of there early on, because if he allows this fight to go more than five rounds, he could get dropped and taken out like his fellow countryman David Price was last March. Povetkin knocked the 6’8” Price for a loop in the 5th round after connecting with a big right hand.
Joshua’s punch resistance isn’t much better than Price’s in my estimation. Joshua can take a little better punch than Price, but not by much. The right-hand knockout shot that Povetkin hit Price with in the 5th round would likely do the same thing to Joshua if he lands. For that reason, it’s vitally important that Joshua gets Povetkin out of there as fast as possible on Saturday night or it could end badly for him.
”He might have a good left hook but I have to annihilate that early. He has a lot of things in his locker so we have to shut him down early,” Joshua said to skysports.com. ”Roll with the punches, what more can I do than give my best. I’ll go out there and find a way to win.”
Joshua had better hope that Povetkin doesn’t put him in bad shape like he was in the last time he fought at Wembley Stadium against Wladimir Klitschko in April of 2017. Wladimir put Joshua down on the canvas and had him within an eyelash of being knocked out in that fight. Indeed, Joshua would have been stopped if Wladimir had his thinking cap on and understood that it was imperative that he finishes the hulking 250+ pound bodybuilder look alike AJ off. Wladimir let the win slip through his fingers by making a colossal blunder in letting Joshua survive the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. Joshua was hurt and exhausted in all of those rounds, and shockingly, Wladimir chose to box him rather than trying to put him away. Povetkin isn’t mentally held back in the same way Wladimir was. If Povetkin gets Joshua hurt, he’s to finish him off and make sure that he can’t continue. If Povetkin hurts Joshua, there will be no coming back. He’ll finish him off for sure.
What’s interesting is the change in Joshua’s physique. Whether he’s starting to age or he’s not training as hard is unclear, but I’m noticing a slight double chin that is growing. That slight double chin wasn’t there before on Joshua’s face. Moreover, there’s some visible fat around Joshua’s jowls, making him look like he’s been eating a lot of fats and not doing the work that he needs to. Joshua’s muscles no longer have the look of a bodybuilder like in recent years. His muscles now look soggy, and washed out. All I can think of is Joshua isn’t hitting the iron like he was doing in the last five years, and he might starting to age a little.
For some people, 28 is more like 35, and that’s an age where fighters start to look a little fleshy and haggard around the face. Joshua’s muscles aren’t like they were a year ago when he fought Wladimir. If Joshua doesn’t have the punching power that he had before, he could be in for a long night against Povetkin on Saturday and he might wind up losing. Joshua was hurt against Wladimir, Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker. All three of those guys had Joshua in trouble. Luckily for AJ, he had referees that changed the complexion of his fights with Takam and Parker by inserting themselves into the picture in changing in how the fights played out. The referee that worked the Joshua-Parker fight didn’t allow inside fighting. That was a huge benefit to Joshua because it allowed him to fight at range he entire night against the shorter-armed Parker. In the Joshua-Takam fight, the referee seemed to lose his senses completely in the
10th and jumped in and stopped the fight while both guys were slugging it out. Joshua was given credit for a TKO victory over s stunned looking Takam, who was in a state of shock about why he referee had stopped the fight.
“The fight will show everything,” said Povetkin to skysports.com. “Anthony is a very strong fighter but I am just as strong. When I fought Klitschko, I was much weaker and in worse shape than I am now.”
I have to agree with Povetkin about him being just as strong as Joshua in terms of punching power. Povetkin may or may not be able to lift as much weights as Joshua, but he can hit as hard as him if not harder. Povetkin laid out Price pretty on the canvas on March 31 of his year. That shot looked harder than any punch I’ve seen Joshua land during his career. Likewise, the big left hook that Povetkin hurt Price in round three was every bit as devastating as any punch I’ve seen from Joshua during his five-year pro career. Being bigger doesn’t mean much in boxing when it comes to punching power. Povetkin’s short frame allowed him to generate Neanderthal man-like punching power, and there’s no one in the heavyweight division that can take that kind of power if Povetkin lands his shots cleanly. Joshua was lucky in his last fight against Joseph Parker that the referee prevented inside fighting, because he was hurt by the New Zealand fighter early on, and it looked like the fight wasn’t going to go long before we saw a KO. I hate to say it but Povetkin is a bigger puncher than Parker, and he’s a more experienced fighter. More importantly, Povetkin isn’t afraid to let his hands go and shoot for the knockout.
Parker looked timid, and he ended up handcuffing himself by not fighting through the referee to get to Joshua. Heck, Parker was fighting two guys that night; the referee and Joshua. Povetkin isn’t going to let a referee hold him back on Saturday night. He’s going to work his way around the referee if he chooses to try and keep him from getting to Joshua like we saw in the Parker fight. Once Povetkin gets to Joshua, he’s going to put hands on him. If Joshua isn’t ready for what Povetkin has to give him, he’s going to get knocked out like in his fight against the southpaw Romanian Mihai Nistor in the 2011 European Amateur Boxing Championships. Nistor was exploding on Joshua with powerful left-right combinations each time he would attack him. Those shots were backing Joshua up against the ropes each time Nistor would land. Povetkin is about as powerful as Nistor, and he’s got the same fearlessness. Povetkin isn’t going to sit back and try and box Joshua on Saturday night the way that Klitschko did. Povetkin has obviously studied his prey well and knows exactly what to do in order to beat Joshua. Basically, Povetkin just needs to do the opposite of what Wladimir did for to beat Joshua.