Will We See AJ The Puncher or AJ The Boxer?
Watford’s Anthony Joshua takes on Alexander Povetkin tonight in a heavyweight battle that hasn’t really wet the appetite for us fight fans. Yes Joshua will always bring in the fans, being the most marketable heavyweight in the world today as well as a world champion will do that, but this fight has generally failed to inspire the public of fellow fighters alike. Perhaps with the news that Tyson Fury is expected to fight Deontay Wilder on December 1st has overshadowed the build up to this fight but it is clear fans want to see Joshua step in with either Wilder or Fury, maybe even a rematch with Dillian Whyte. Anyone else is just seen as an easy money fight – but what should fight fans expect tonight?
Alexander Povetkin is no slouch, his brutal knock out of David Price was the highlight of the night on the undercard of Joshua’s last fight back in March of this year. Povetkin has only lost the once in his career, against Wladmir Klitschko, since then he has vanquished common foes, defeating Carlos Takam and is riding an 8 fight win streak since suffering his only loss back in 2013. Povetkin, like Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist, but this was in 2004 which means he is currently sitting at 39yrs old. Very rarely does the aged fighter upset the young lion, Povetkin does have a very dangerous left hook but it is debateable whether AJ will open up enough to allow Povetkin to work inside with his hooks.
Therein lies the problem with this matchup. Joshua knows the real big money fights lie elsewhere, in an era where the 0 in your record is your most bankable asset, AJ will not want to risk defeat before he can claim huge pay days against either Wilder or Fury(should Fury fight Wilder and win, then Fury becomes the bigger money fight and not Wilder). What this means is you can likely expect Joshua to come out fighting in a very similar way to he did against Joseph Parker. Which was very cautious, very circumspect and fighting behind the jab. Unfortunately for AJ, being a heavyweight and participating in one of the best ever battles against Wladmir Klitschko, fans expect him to blast out opponents much like he did in the first 19 fights of his career. A Joshua against Takam and Parker has revealed a very different fighter, now AJ realises he is a brand and to protect that brand by remaining undefeated and then cashing in big time against either Wilder or Fury – maybe even both.
Joshua holds a noticeable size advantage over Povetkin, both in height, weight and reach. This means Povetkin will have to do all the hard work to make a fight of it. AJ can easily keep out of harms way by fighting behind the jab, we could even possibly see a repeat of the fight between Povetkin and Klitschko. Which was Povetkin struggling to close the gap and negate the size difference, Joshua jabbing and clinching, eventually aiming to get Povetkin out of there with a right hand oncec he senses the Russian getting tired or frustrated and if that doesn’t work, just continue to jab his way to an easy points win whilst not having to take any risks.
Povetkin though is a dangerous challenger, possibly even more so than Joseph Parker. Povetkin may be shorter but he likes to get under or outside punches and counter with huge looping shots over the top. As already mentioned he has a very dangerous left hook which if it lands will certainly rock AJ – whether he can get in close enough to land remains to be seen. Joshua will want to keep everything straight and fast to negate Povetkins hooks and looping shots, if Joshua can manage that and control the fight, it is going to be a very long night for Povetkin. I expect AJ’s size to be too much to handle for Povetkin and AJ will secure the win, Povetkin does have a lot of skill, good power and a solid chin but I do not expect this to be enough to overcome a height difference of 4inches, a reach difference of 7ins and a weight difference around 20lbs.
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