Unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua continued his winning run as he outclassed and outperformed Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
It proved to be one of the toughest fights of Joshua’s professional career as he struggled initially after being caught by the Russian power puncher on the nose towards the end of the first round.
But the Brit managed to regain his composure and grew in confidence as each round progressed.
However, it was Joshua who successfully stopped Povetkin in the seventh round with a brutal knockout, thereby keeping hold of his WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO world titles.
Povetkin's fast start to the fight had made fans feel a bit twitchy, however, no one more so than Eddie Hearn.
Joshua's promoter had talked up Povetkin's ability all week and revealed AJ's far from perfect preparation for the clash had made him feel extra nervous during the opening exchanges.
The Matchroom Sport boss disclosed that on the back of the tough training camp in the past weeks, Joshua was not feeling his best in the build-up to the bout.
In fact, there was even some cause for concern regarding Joshua's thumb just minutes before he was due to enter the ring.
“It’s been a horrific camp," Hearn told iFL TV. “There have been injuries, he’s had the flu all week and even this week I’m thinking it’s not meant to be.
“Wake up this morning, it’s absolutely p***ing it down with rain.
“Get in the changing room, he’s put his glove on, the thumb has gone. This is three minutes before the walk on,” Hearn added.
“He’s having to change his glove, putting it back on, re-tape it.
“I’m thinking this is destined to go wrong. Then in the ring, he’s so relaxed, I want to tell him to switch on. I can’t tell if he’s relaxed or not with it."
“I knew how tough this fight would be, Povetkin is one of the best heavyweights in the world.
“After that first round, my b*****e was all over the place.”
Joshua is next scheduled for a fight on April 13, 2019 at Wembley once again, with the boxing faithful desperately hoping a deal can be struck with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who is taking on Tyson Fury on December 1.
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