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Somebody’s ‘OH’ Must Go? Floyd Has More To Lose Than Canelo

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It is a declarative statement that is uttered, and often, whenever two boxers with undefeated records square off.

“Somebody’s `oh’ must go” is the familiar refrain. And that is true in most cases, although it does not account for the possibility of a draw which would leave somebody’s “oh” at least somewhat smudged. In the case of Saturday night’s Showtime Pay-Per-View extravaganza at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, pitting pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 KOs) vs. emerging superstar Canelo Alvarez 42-0-1, 30 KOs), the 23-year-old Mexican sensation already has one standoff on his professional resume (a four-round split draw with Jorge Juarez on June 17, 2006, when Alvarez was only 15) removing the veneer of total perfection.

Maybe the fight – at a mutually agreed-upon catch weight of 152 pounds, five more than the welterweight limit WBC champion Mayweather is most accustomed to and two below the junior middleweight limit at which Alvarez, the WBC/WBA titlist, usually works – will live up to the astounding hype. Alvarez’s 154-pound belts, despite the catch weight, will be on the line.

Many predict that this fight will surpass the record 2.5 million PPV buys for Mayweather’s 2007 showdown with Oscar De La Hoya, which he won on a split decision, and because of higher subscription prices – $64.95 for standard television, an even heftier $74.95 for high-definition – and the fact the bout will be shown in 500 movie theaters around the country, it almost certainly will be the highest-grossing boxing event of all time. But no matter the outcome, Mayweather is assured of a record $41.5 million payday (shattering the previous high of $33 million that Evander Holyfield received for his “Bite Fight” rematch with Mike Tyson), which could rise to $50 million if the more optimistic PPV projections are accurate. Alvarez is supposedly guaranteed a minimum $12.5 million, with that figure apt to jump significantly if the PPV buy rate meets expectations.

To hear the headliners tell it, each man has as much to win, or lose, as the other.

“I think it’s a lot of pressure (on Alvarez),” a supremely confident Mayweather said during a teleconference with the media last week. “Sometimes when there’s pressure, a guy fights better. We have to see how this fight plays out.

“This is a whole different ballgame. (Alvarez) may be predicting a knockout, but all you have to do is look at the opponents he’s faced. And we’re not just talking about `A-plus’ fighters but `D-minus’ and `C-minus’ fighters … guys that he should have knocked out in the fourth round, they were able to go into the eighth and ninth rounds even though they were caught with numerous shots.

“I don’t think Ricky Hatton’s brother (Matthew Hatton, whom Alvarez dominated over 12 rounds in winning a unanimous decision on March 5, 2011) is on the level of a Floyd Mayweather. This is chess, not checkers. These are moves you have to think about. At this level, you’ve got to get 10 steps ahead of your opponent.”

For his part, Alvarez is just as convinced that it is Mayweather who has to be feeling the most heat as he attempts to extend, at the old-for-boxing age of 36, the unblemished record which he frequently cites as proof that he really must be the greatest fighter of all time.

“If I win – when I win – it will change history,” said the red-haired, freckled, pale-skinned Alvarez, who at various times has been described as resembling Howdy Doody, Richie Cunningham and Chucky, said when the question was raised as to which fighter is under the most pressure.

“I think that the way he’s talking, he’s underestimating me. But at the same time, I think he’s worried. I think that he’s very, very worried. He’s always been like that. He’s always been a (trash) talker because that’s the way he is. But I don’t care what he’s saying and I don’t care what he’s thinking. What I care about is what I’m saying and what I’m thinking.”

Opinions will vary, of course, and the prevailing sentiment among those not swayed by emotion or personal preference (like Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have installed Mayweather as a slightly more than 2-to-1 favorite) is that enough of “Money’s” prime remains that he will school the kid as he has done so many previous befuddled opponents. This is the second fight in the 30-month, six-bout deal Mayweather signed with Showtime PPV/CBS in February. His first ring appearance on that contract – which could bring him $250 million-plus if all six fights are staged within the specified time frame — resulted in a standard 12-round decision over an outclassed Robert Guerrero on May 4. Mayweather earned $32 million for that one, although few fireworks were set off. While many analysts applaud Mayweather’s technical artistry, especially his seemingly impenetrable defense, they also are honest in their assessment that he has never been considered a crowd-pleasing “action” fighter who engages in the sort of risk-taking that quickens the pulses of spectators.

So why is Mayweather, if he is indeed too good for his own good, as some have opined, such a box-office smash? Some say it is because of a carefully orchestrated attempt to market himself as a controversial lighting rod that everyone loves or hates, depending on their particular proclivities.

Not since Mike Tyson was offending polite society with his profligate spending and frequently outrageous behavior has any boxer been as much of a proponent of the “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” lifestyle as has Mayweather. In the most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine, he graces the cover and, in the story authored by Tim Keown, it is duly noted that on one shopping trip for even more bling-bling, Mayweather was adorned by $3 million in diamond-and-gold jewelry, including a $1.6 million necklace. He wears his boxer shorts and pricey sneakers just once before tossing them out, and his unwieldy entourage (more than 20 fulltime employees, including four husky bodyguards) are at his constant beck-and-call, even when he fights only once in a given year. And even though he shaves his head, among his team members is a personal barber.

Also reminiscent of Tyson, who owned a fleet of luxury cars despite the fact he ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in limousine rentals fees, is Mayweather’s fondness for high-end rides. He keeps identical sets of color-coded, ultra-expensive cars at his mansions in Las Vegas (they’re white) and Miami (black), as if to remind himself of where he is at any given moment.

If this is the way Mayweather chooses to roll simply because he can afford it and it suits him, that is one thing. It is quite another if it is the cultivation of an image he has crafted for the purpose of setting himself apart from other elite fighters, as if his abundance of ring skills didn’t already do that. In the spring of 2004, during a brief and ill-advised association with women’s hair-care products magnates Lewis Hendler and Neal Menaged, an attempt was made to make Mayweather more palatable to those Americans who found it difficult to relate to him.

“Our plan is not to tap into the thug image as a way to build Floyd up,” Hendler said prior to Mayweather’s bout with DeMarcus Corley. “We’d like to see him make the transition to mainstream, rather than to pin himself to a particular culture which is fairly limited in terms of marketing potential.”

That plan failed, or wasn’t allowed to succeed, depending upon your point of view. Mayweather quickly broke away from the hair-care guys, and prior to his 2005 fight with Arturo Gatti in Atlantic City, he said that “I am always the villain. That’s all right. I know how boxing works. You have to have a good guy and a bad guy. I don’t mind being the bad guy.”

Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, seemingly seconded that notion in 2012 when he said, “Floyd is one of the most despised athletes in the world, but he’s also the most talented athlete in the world. What other athlete do you know who has dominated his sport for 16 years?”

Which raises a question. Is Mayweather – despite having zero endorsement deals – the highest-grossing athlete in the world (Forbes magazine had him No. 1 for 2012 with an income of $85 million, a figure he might reach or surpass this year) because of his anti-hero status, or despite it? And is his bleep-you public persona a put-on or for real? There is ample evidence to suggest that what you see, like courtroom appearances and visits to the hoosegow, is really what you get. Mayweather’s running afoul of the law includes the mandatory impulse-control counseling after he was convicted of misdemeanor battery after a confrontation with two women at a Las Vegas nightclub and, most notably, his serving of two months of a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to domestic violence against Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children, in 2011. Had it not been to a plea deal he accepted which resulted in the dropping of additional felony and misdemeanor charges, Mayweather conceivably could have been sent to prison for up to 34 years.

“He just continually gets himself into trouble and he is able to get himself out of it as well,” prosecutor Lisa Luzaich said of the legal trouble Mayweather was embroiled in as a result of the incident with Harris, who accused him of pulling her hair, punching her in the head and twisting her arm. “Essentially it is because he is who he is and is able to get away with everything.”

So here comes Alvarez, with his national-hero status in Mexico and matinee-idol good looks everywhere, an upset victory over the long-standing king of the mountain from becoming the dominant economic force in boxing. He is 23 with a career that comprises much more future than past, unlike Mayweather, who admits to looking no further ahead than the fulfillment of his current contract, and maybe one more bout beyond that if it means making it to the nice, round number of 50-0.

Good vs. evil, as well as young vs. old, are always bankable premises for selling big-time bouts and Mayweather-Alvarez fits comfortably within those parameters. But the paradigm shifts on fight night, when the paying customers expect to be as entertained by what transpires inside the ropes as they were by the compelling story lines going in.

There is the nagging belief in some quarters that the main undercard bout – in which WBA/WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs) defends those titles against power-punching Lucas Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs) of Argentina – could steal the show from the main-event guys. Garcia-Matthysse, because of the attacking styles of the fighters involved, almost assuredly will be exciting for however long it lasts, which might not be the case if Mayweather spends 12 more rounds as a pugilistic Bobby Fischer, grandmaster of chess, toying with a relative newcomer on the brightly lit stage trying to play checkers.

Somebody’s “oh” must go? Yeah, that is important when each participant has as much to win, or lose, as the other. An example of just such a matchup might be the Sept. 16, 1981, welterweight unification megafight between WBA champion Sugar Ray Leonard, then 25, and 22-year-old WBC ruler Thomas Hearns. Those future Hall of Famers were young, undefeated, charismatic and exciting, and Leonard’s thrilling, 14th-round stoppage of the Detroit “Hitman,” while trailing on the official scorecards, gave all that fans could have expected, and more. But while Leonard’s career got a boost from that signature victory, Hearns’ reputation was not necessarily damaged. He had established himself even more as someone the public wanted to see, as is always the case with fighters who unfailingly provide bang for the consumer’s buck.

Is Mayweather-Alvarez apt to be another Leonard-Hearns I, or is it going to be another Mayweather-De La Hoya, which did such booming business yet did not go into boxing annals among the most riveting bouts ever?

Also undetermined is the effect a Mayweather loss would have on both he and his sport. Is there an “out” clause on the part of Showtime/CBS if Mayweather is defeated and thus loses his shield of invincibility? And even if there isn’t such a clause, would he voluntarily choose to step aside if his record were to be defaced by an “L”? Hey, the ESPN the Mag story revealed that he has $123 million in his bank account, which should keep his small army of sycophants on the payroll for quite a while, should “Money” continue to live the ostentatious lifestyle of the rich and famous.

But Alvarez doesn’t need to emerge victorious to remain a viable force. Unless he is emphatically knocked out or embarrassed by Mayweather from the opening bell, he, like Hearns, can be counted on to remain among boxing’s must-see attractions. Defeat is not especially a hindrance to popularity, provided a fighter rates high on the thrill-a-meter. Hearns showed us that, as did the late Arturo Gatti.

Inquiring minds want to see how it all will turn out on Saturday night, when somebody’s “oh” has to go.

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights

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experienced opponent

He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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