Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin attempt to claim the outright SportsRatings Heavyweight Championship for the first time. For over a year Joshua held the interim belt while Tyson Fury was inactive, and he remains #2 after Fury reclaimed his belt last month.
Alex Povetkin has been #3 for around eight years; he was #2 for a month before Joshua beat Wlad Klitschko and pushed Povetkin back to #3. Before that was interim champ for one month, when Fury and Klitschko delayed their (eventually cancelled) rematch. But he's never been outright champion on our site, and neither has Joshua.
That will end with this fight; the winner will pass Fury at #1 and be considered our undisputed heavyweight champ, only the third champion since Lennox Lewis' reign.
The fight is ready to begin.
Round-by-round scoring for Joshua vs. Povetkin:
- Round One: Both men start fighting at distance, lunging with jabs; Povetkin going to the body. Hook by Povetkin misses. Nothing connecting early, some big punches missing now. Both very cautious. Body by Povetkin, jab by Joshua. Quick clinch breaks. Povetkin ends round with overhand right that makes Joshua stumble. Povetkin 10-9
- Round Two: Joshua busier right from the start; Joshua's nose is bleeding. More work this round, more jabs, Joshua going to the body. Jab backs Povetkin to the ropes, Povetkin going for the bloody nose. Tight round, good work from both; 10-10; Povetkin 20-19.
- Round Three: Interior fighting with Povetkin scoring. Joshua now holding him back with jabs. Holds him off for most of the round landing jabs, decent combo near the end. Joshua 10-9; 29-29.
- Round Four: Povetkin jumps in, gets hit by Joshua counter. Povetkin's eye is cut. Joshua looking better now using jab. Joshua clinching when Povetkin leaps forward. Povetkin looking for big uppercut, misses, Joshua continues jabbing, controls the round. Joshua 10-9; Joshua 39-38.
- Round Five: Big hook by Joshua misses as he peppers jabs. Povetkin's own hook whiffs too, as he looks to land a big one; he wants a KO while Joshua looks like he wants to win a decision. Good left by Povetkin. Joshua backs up, dodges, clinches to avoid Povetkin. Fairly even round, 10-10; Joshua 49-48.
- Round Six: Respect shown by fighters as they touch gloves following a minor foul. Joshua finally unloading a bit, scores in combos. Povetkin jumps in with good combos himself. Both look tired, Povetkin whiffs a few times. Another close round, both men had their moments, rested at end. 10-10; Joshua 59-58.
- Round Seven: Tentative start early in round 7, both men measuring their energy. Big right from Joshua rocks Povetkin; a few more hits and he's DOWN. Povetkin up with a minute left; Joshua pours it on, the fight is stopped! Anthony Joshua wins by TKO.
Anthony Joshua has captured the SportsRatings Heavyweight Championship! And it looks like Alexander Povetkin, now 39, will never reach our #1 spot.
The end kind of came out of nowhere; Joshua's right hook was so unheralded that it was hard to tell it connected until Povetkin reacted with a stumble. It was very close at that point, with either fighter ahead on the cards, and no one really taking charge of the ring completely. But Joshua did exactly what Povetkin was hoping to do—score a game-changing shot and capitalize on it. The knockdown punches were a brutal 1-2; Povetkin barely made it up in time, and he was weak-legged after that.
AJ's reign could be short; with the announcement of Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder for December 1st, Fury could retake our title within a couple of months. And whoever wins that fight, it sets up a great match with Joshua among undefeated fighters.
Anyone who says heavyweight boxing isn't great today is crazy; a practical tournament among the top 4 heavyweights, with three of them undefeated? That's probably never happened before. Tell your friends: the boring Klitschko-dominant days are over, we're in a new era and it is fantastic.