Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) got back to his destructive knockout best when he became the first man to stop Russian Alexander Povetkin (34-2, 24KOs) in the seventh round at Wembley Stadium, London, England.
After a slow and troublesome start the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA World Heavyweight champion was able to re-adjust and finish off the 39-year-old veteran in seven rounds.
On a cold and wet evening in London 70,000 fans arrived with the expectation that Joshua would make light work of Povetkin, but to everyone’s dismay it was the Russian that started the brighter.
The opening exchanges were cagey as both fighters tried to feel their way into the fight. Joshua was working behind his jab targeting the body but it was Povetkin that landed an eye-catching uppercut that wobbled the champ right on the bell.
Joshua looked worried as he came out for the second round with a bloodied nose as a result of the Povetkin uppercut. The Russian was buoyed by the sight of blood and was a constant threat on the inside. A three punch combo which ended with a right hand won the round and silenced the thousands in attendance.
The champ found his range in the third managing the keep his menacing challenger behind a better, busier and more accurate jab.
In the fourth Povetkin continued to look dangerous but got caught with a well timed uppercut that opened a small gash on his left eye. Joshua continued to target the body but switched to the cut and got caught with a left hook.
‘AJ’ was definitely feeling more comfortable in the fifth sticking behind the jab but wasn’t looking for any big shots. He was either being extra cautious or maybe setting traps for later in the fight. Povetkin was now struggling to get in on the inside but did catch Joshua with a left at the bell.
British boxing’s golden boy was really starting to show his class by the sixth and you can’t help but be impressed with the way he adapted after a turbulent start. A right hand rocked the ‘Russian Vityaz’ who started to look a bit desperate.
Into the seventh round and Joshua followed up his left to the body with big right hand that rocked Povetkin back before landing a left. With the challenger in trouble he nailed him with another right, left combo that puts him down.
Povetkin shows amazing courage to get back on his feet but the referee should have probably stopped him from receiving further punishment. Joshua showed he’s learned from previous encounters as he patiently and brutally ends the fight with another right, left combo.
After his 22nd professional victory the unified Heavyweight Champion said:
“Povetkin is a very tough challenger, he proved that with good left hooks and counter punches,” said Joshua.
“I came in here to have fun, and give it my best. I knew he was strong to the head but weak to the body. I was just mixing it up.
“It could have been seven, maybe nine, maybe 12 rounds to get him out of there, but the ultimate aim was to be victorious. And I got my knockout streak back”.
When asked who he wanted next on April 13 back at Wembley Stadium, he said:
“If Dillian wants to fight here, he’s more than welcome. My number 1 choice is Wilder and my second…forget my second or third, we’ll leave it at that.”
I almost refrained myself from writing an article on the Golovkin-Canelo rematch but now I have had time to reflect and listen to other opinions I just had to write something about this excellent fight that will go down in boxing history for years to come.
Once the official scorecard was announced I have admit that my initial reaction was one of shock and dismay that none of three judges had scored in favour of the Ukrainian warrior. I completely neglected the spectacle that I had just witnessed and could only view the fight in a negative manor. I applauded Golovkin’s decision to snub the American broadcaster for an immediate interview as I marched up to bed in the early hours of the morning.
A few days on and time to reflect I have had to ask myself what made me so upset with the decision? I scored the fight in favour of Golovkin 7 rounds to 5 as did many but you couldn’t really argue either way. I still don’t believe that Canelo did enough on the night to win the titles from Golovkin but why was I so aggrieved? Was it the fact that justice was not served after the first meeting or was there another underlining issue?
Then it clicked, the last time I felt this bitter towards an athlete winning a well-matched contest was the day Usain Bolt missed out on a gold medal in the 100m final against Justin Gatlin in the Rio Olympics.
In 2001, Gatlin was banned from international competition for two years after testing positive for amphetamines. A banned substance that helps improve reaction time, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. After a successful appeal he was reinstated by the IAAF.
Then in 2006 Gatlin tested positive a second time for testosterone which is used to increase athletic ability.
Gatlin accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime ban but after an appeal his ban was reduced to 4 years. Some would say that was a worthwhile punishment, but I cannot condone any sort of cheating and believe he should have been banned for life which would have sent out a strong message. This is the reason why I was so angered when Gatlin defeated Bolt as I felt that justice was not served, and he should never have been in the race in the first place.
This takes me back to Canelo and his failed drugs test for Clenbuterol in February of this year which is a performance-enhancing drug (PED). The red-headed Mexican put his failed tests down to contaminated meats which is common in Mexico, look no further that the 2011 Under-17 football World Cup in Mexico where 109 players from multiple countries tested positive for this drug. FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not prosecute any of those players as the weight of evidence pointed to contaminated meat.
Pro-Canelo fans will see this as a perfectly reasonable excuse but others including myself are sceptical. Whether you blame his team or Canelo himself is neither here nor there because he did fail the drug test not once but twice. Considering the millions of dollars that Canelo has at his disposal and the fact that contaminated Mexican meat is common and been in awareness for 7-years, is it just a coincidence that Canelo failed a drug test for the banned substance while preparing for the Golovkin rematch?
What is even more demoralising is the punishment that was dished out by the authorities to fellow Mexican boxer Erik Morales who was suspended for two years after testing positive for Clenbuterol in 2013. In December 2016 American heavyweight Eric Molina tested positive for the prohibited substance dexamethasone and was suspended for two years.
The double standards of the anti-doping authorities are clear to see as dexamethasone is not even a PED but a type of steroid medication that is usually used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation.
Following Molina’s suspension, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said:
“Every athlete is solely responsible for what is in their system and must adhere to the strict liability principle. All athletes at any level should familiarise themselves with Wada Prohibited List and ensure they do not put themselves in a position where they may breach anti-doing regulations.”
If the safety of our boxers is the main priority, then why has Molina been banned for 2 years while Canelo only gets 6-months and was still allowed to continue training during the suspension? This was a missed opportunity by the boxing authorities that could and should have made an example of Canelo. This is the real reason why I felt so p***ed off with the Golovkin defeat, a man that has been a credit to the sport and carries himself with the upmost respect has lost to a cheat in my opinion. The 6 Vegas judges over the 24 exhilarating rounds of boxing played only a small part in the disappointment.
With all that being said BBC’s Boxing voice Mike Costello put the whole controversy into perspective for me: “Blame Canelo for the crime but you can’t blame Canelo for the punishment.”
The fight itself was one for the ages but boxing needs a thorough investigation because let’s face it money is the driving force and not a fighter’s safety.
Matchroom boxing have announced a new show on October 27 at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London which will be headlined by John Ryder (26-4, 14KOs) who takes on Russian Andrey Sirotkin (15-0, 4KOs) in a final eliminator for WBA World Super-Middleweight Title.
The Islington-based southpaw has a great chance of setting-up a world title fight against one of the WBA champions currently held by Super Champion George Groves and regular champion Rocky Fielding.
Ryder produced one of his career best performances when he knocked out Jamie Cox with a right hand within two-rounds on the Bellew-Haye 2 undercard.
His Russian opponent maybe undefeated in 15-fights but the 30-year-old will hope his greater experience and the home crowd backing will see him through.
Also on the show is a mouthwatering Super-Welterweight fight between Londoner Ted Cheeseman and Berkshire’s Asinia Byfield for the vacant British Title.
The press conference for the event went ahead today but Byfield did not make an appearance. Maybe the 29-year-old from Reading is attempting to start the mind-games early although Cheeseman made his feelings known, saying: “I just think he’s a bit rattled and he knows he’s in for a fight.”
Isaac Chamberlain takes on Luke Watkins in a Cruiserweight contest after both suffered their first defeats at the hands of Lawrence Okolie. Neither fighter will want to experience back-to-back loses which makes this an intriguing match-up.
In the Light-Heavyweight division Craig Richards of Crystal Palace will face Jake Ball for the WBA Inter-Continential Light-Heavyweight Championship. Both only have the one defeat on their professional records making this another close contest.
Ryan Doyle will be still buzzing from his excellent victory over Reece Bellotti earlier in the year has been pitched up against undefeated Jordan Gill for the Commonwealth Featherweight Championship strap.
Other fighters on the card include the aforementioned Reece Bellotti, Felix Cash, Martin J Ward, Louie Lynn, Charlie Duffield and George Fox.
Daniel Dubois (8-0, 8KOs) arrived in Moscow, Russia after Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24KOs) drafted in the Londoner for sparring to get ready for his first title fight since losing to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20KOs) makes his sixth title defence on September 22 at Wembley stadium against the Russian and the Watford fighter has drafted in a prospect of his own in Martin Bakole (11-0, 8KOs) – who is a Scotland-based Congolese heavyweight.
With the biggest fight of the year almost upon us the IBO, WBC & WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34KOs) expresses his disappointment towards the judges after first fight with Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34KOs).
The Kazakhstan voiced his opinion on the controversial first encounter that left most boxing fans bemused with two of the judges scorecards, especially judge Adalaide Byrd’s scorecard of (118-110) in Canelo’s favour. The 36-year-old said;
“The draw [in the first fight] was terrible. It was terrible for me. It was terrible for the people. Of course it was terrible for the sport … for the sport of boxing, because statistics showed I landed more punches. The fans saw I wanted to fight and Canelo did not want to fight.
“The fans who watched it live saw the judges bringing crazy scorecards. When the decision was announced, everyone was saying, ‘Oh, come on! This is not real! This is not true!’ Everybody was very mad because these people, the judges killed the sport that night.
“This time, the world will be watching the fight and the judges. Judges hurt the sport of boxing that day. Maybe the judges had a bad day. This is business.
“It is a new situation for me. This is my first rematch. I’m very excited because this fight is a completely different situation for us and for the fans. They get to see a fight with a real champion, two pound-for-pound champions. It is new. This is the biggest fight for boxing. I’m very happy because I am fighting at the highest level, the first class for boxing.
“Training camp with Abel Sanchez is always hard and exciting because Abel works me hard and he is always teaching me new things. What I have to prove I only have to prove to myself and no one else. My incentive is my desire to be my best when I fight and to be better than I have ever been before.
“Canelo is my most important fight because he is my next fight. That is the only thing that makes Canelo special. There was nothing special about him in the first fight. He did not fight Mexican Style like he promised. Over the last twelve months, Canelo has showed everyone his true self.”
It’s hard to disagree with Golovkin’s recent statement but that result must be put to one side with the rematch only weeks away. It is clear to see that ‘Triple G’ is still rightfully frustrated with the outcome but he now has the chance to correct the wrong when he finally locks horns with the Mexican on September 15 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
If Golovkin can channel that anger and transfer it into the ring then it could end up being a very short and painful night for Canelo. Let’s just hope that the right man wins on the night and judges Glenn Feldman, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld can do a better job in Golovkin-Canelo 2.
British lightweight sensation Lewis Ritson (16-0, 10KOs) will take on Francesco Patera (19-3, 7KOs) of Belgium for the vacant European title at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England on October 13.
The 24-year-old will first take an 8-round warm-up fight against an unnamed opponent on the Khan-Vargas undercard next weekend. Some may suggest that fighting 5 weeks before a major bout is risky but Ritson is like a throwback fighter from yesteryear who will sensibly take it in his stride.
Ritson – also known as ‘Sandman’ because he puts people to sleep – is a down to earth Geordie who was applying for work in a factory only one year ago but is now a Newcastle hero on the verge of national stardom.
“I’ve dealt with all the top operators at domestic level and now it’s time to announce myself on the European stage,” said Ritson, who secured the British belt outright with a first-round knockout of Paul Hyland Jnr in June.
“I’m feeling unstoppable right now and I’m ready to take on anyone that gets put in front of me.
“The Metro Radio Arena is my fortress and nobody is beating me in my backyard. The noise my fans make inside the arena is incredible, it’s like there’s two of me in the ring.
“Patera has held the European belt so we know that he poses a real threat and I’ll have to be at my best to get past him. I’ve been told there’s not much between Patera and Tatli in terms of ability and style. Patera looks big at the weight and is a busy fighter, I’m expecting an exciting fight.
“He’s a good opponent, but it’s nothing we don’t think we can handle on the night. I feel like I am improving with every fight and with the form that I’m in, I’m confident of beating anyone.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I was completely blown away with what I saw both in and out of the ring last time we were in Newcastle.
“Lewis Ritson has fast become one of the most popular and exciting fighters in British boxing and now he gets an opportunity to challenge for a European title. He has cleared up domestically and this is the next step.”
It won’t be long before Ritson is selling out St James’ Park 52,000 seater stadium if he can continue knocking out opponents at European level. Keep a close eye on the career of Ritson as he rises through the ranks of a staked lightweight division that includes two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world today – Vasiliy Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia.
Tyson Fury (27-0, 19KOs) strolled his way to a points decision victory over Francesco Pianeta (35-5-1, 21KOs) in Belfast on Saturday night with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39KOs) in attendance.
On a night that was headlined by Carl Frampton (25-1, 15KOs) the Belfast crowd made sure he would not to be overshadowed by the two outspoken heavyweights as they welcomed their hero with a tremendous ovation. The ‘Jackal’ was not in the mood to alow anyone to steal his limelight after dispatching his under-matched opponent Luke Jackson (16-1, 7KOs) in nine rounds to the delight of the Windsor Park faithful.
The self proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ and ‘Bronze Bomber’ can only dream of having a fan-base like Frampton. If only there was someone on the current heavyweight scene that could make an enterance to a deafening atmosphere like the Irishman? But of course there is and the name Anthony Joshua seemed to escape the minds of Wilder, Fury and Frank Warren as they faced up in the ring to announce their potential title fight.
What is rather amusing is that the week leading up to the Fury-Pianeta fight seemed to circle around the failed negotiations between Joshua and Wilder. Everyone was at it including Mr Warren who couldn’t help but have a pop at Joshua when he told ESPN:
“If someone guarantees you $80 million (£62million), $50 million (£39million) for the first and $30 million (£24million) for the second, that tells me you don’t fancy a fight
“The only reason this fight is not being made is because either Anthony Joshua, or his management or trainers don’t want the fight, otherwise it would be made.”
The one thing that Warren failed to mention is that Matchroom Boxing was the one that opened negotiations with Team Wilder with an initial offer 5-times Wilder’s biggest payday. That offer was ignored as an insult which contradicts Wilder’s statement of “It’s about the best fighting the best and not about money”.
Warren made an even more bizarre statement saying: “You’ve got the two heavyweights in Wilder and Fury who want to get it on, and whoever wins will be the No. 1 heavyweight in the world.”
Quite simply Mr Warren knows that statement is complete and utter nonsense considering there is a unified heavyweight champion in Joshua who is defending his titles against the debateable world No.2 in Alexander Povetkin.
Even Tyson Fury couldn’t help himself with an even more extraordinary statement:
“I think it’s such a sad time for heavyweight boxing because you’ve got the so-called super champion and golden boy, Anthony Joshua, and he is avoiding Deontay Wilder and will not fight him at any cost.
‘”If you’re not going to fight someone for £40million, you’re not going to fight him for anything. It’s a disgrace and he’s a disgrace to boxing.”
For a guy who has not only disgraced himself in public with some outrageous statements in the past along with a drug suspension that sounds very hypocritical from Fury. If anyone has disgraced boxing in any shape or form the 30-year-old would top many people’s list.
Wilder also got involved with a swipe at Joshua: He said: “Tyson felt sorry – he felt sorry that people were laughing at the UK and they are.
“They are because of the big facade that they’ve built around Joshua.
“Then for him to let people down in that way, and not fight the best, it really put a sour taste in people’s mouths. Especially in America.
“It has really damaged his name. Not his career yet, because he still has the opportunity to turn it around but his name they have damaged that. He looks like a protected fighter.”
Black kettle, black Mr Wilder who has one of the most padded resumés in boxing history. In 40 professional fights the 32-year-old has only ever fought one big name and had never tried to unify the titles since picking up the WBC strap in 2015. Wilder couldn’t be anymore of a protected fighter if he tried.
What is crystal clear is both fighters and promoters are using Joshua’s name to build-up their fight. That’s a massive indication that even they know this is not the biggest fight between the two best heavyweights. I mean how many British boxing fans are going to pay for this fight on PPV at 4am? Unless your a die hard Fury fan or boxing fan it’s very unlikely to do well on these shores.
If you pick the bones out of all this what does the Fury-Wilder fight actually mean to the landscape of the heavyweight division? Both fighters have a great chance to put themselves in pole position for a fight with Joshua next year. That is of course if they actually want it?
For me Wilder is an overrated one trick pony that will get exposed in Vegas against a very awkward Fury that will more then likely approach the fight in a southpaw stance. I don’t think it will be exciting fight either as Fury will look to frustrate and bore the pants off a predominately American audience.
Let’s hope I’m wrong about the boring part and it’s an absolute barnstormer of a fight and the winner does take on Joshua next year if he can get past Povetkin.
What would be nice is a little less Joshua talk in the coming months.
Welsh lightweight prospect Joe Cordina (8-0, 6KOs) produced a classy and dominant performance against a seasoned pro in Sean Dodd (15-4-1, 3KOs) on Saturday night at the Ice Arena Wales.
It was the first time Cordina had been stretched to 12-rounds in his short career but he looked assured and unfazed as he cruised to a unanimous decision. The 26-year-old showed experience beyond his years by throwing a variety punches while dictating the pace of the fight.
Dodd is no mug and would give any on the domestic fighters on the current British scene a run for their money. The 34-year-old did try to put the pressure on Cordina in the middle rounds as expected but he found it difficult to pin the ‘Welsh Wizard’ down.
On the British domestic front we have a lot of depth in the 135lb division but the chances of Cordina gaining any more experience then what he faced on Saturday night will be difficult to find.
As Cordina has only had eight pro fights it would be poor management to think about throwing him in with someone like Lewis Ritson (16-0, 10KOs) who is among the current top British lightweights. Fighters like Ricky Burns (42-7-1, 15KOs), Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13KOs) and Luke Campbell (18-2, 15KOs) are fights that can wait at least until the new Commonwealth champion gets at least 10-fights under his belt.
Scott Cardle (23-2-1, 7KOs) was on the undercard of Cordina-Dodd and got back to winning ways after his devastating knockout loss to Ritson earlier this year. The 28-year-old would offer a different style to Dodd and would surely be the most favourable opponent for Cordina’s next fight.
If team Cordina really want to stretch their man to the limit then Tommy Coyle (24-4, 12KOs) would be the perfect opponent. It would be a bit of a gamble but “he who dares”. A victory against a guy like Coyle would catapult the Welshman right into the mix not only domestically but on world level to.
Since keeping a close eye on Joe Cordina when he collected a bronze medal at the commonwealth games in Glasgow 2014 he has made a significant improvement. His last 16 defeat in the Rio Olympics 2016 was a bitter pill to swallow but he would have gained a lot of experience from competing in such a major event.
After representing Team GB in Rio Cordina joined an exciting crop of fighters that also decided to move into the pro game; welterweight Josh Kelly (7-0, 5KOs), super-welterweight Anthony Fowler (7-0, 6KOs), light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (7-0, 5KOs), cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (9-0, 7KOs) and heavyweight Joe Joyce (5-0, 5KOs) plus female super-flyweight Nicola Adams (4-0, 3KOs).
British professional boxing has a lot to thank Team GB for with the amount of hard work and investment that has gone into the amateur game. It’s been quite a remarkable turn around since 2000 when all we had was Audley Harrision (31-7, 23KOs) in the Sydney games and Amir Khan (32-4, 20KOs) in Athens. If you take a look through the list of fighters that have managed to be a success when transitioning from amateur to professional it shows just how important Team GB have been.
In London 2012 we had; Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20KO), Josh Taylor (13-0, 11KOs), Andrew Selby (10-0, 5KOs), Luke Campbell and in Beijing 2008; Khalid ‘Kal’ Yafai (24-0, 15KOs), Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) and James DeGale (24-2-1, 14KOs).
Of course with every Joshua there is a Harrison so having an Olympic background does not guarantee you success in the professional ranks just ask Anthony Ogogo. Cordina will need to keep his feet firmly on the ground and continue to develop if he is to fulfil his potential. What ever the future holds for the young Cardiff chap and the other protégés that are coming through – Olympic background or not – it will be fun watching.
Exciting lightweight prospect Joe Cordina (7-0, 6KO) headlines a NXGEN bill at the Ice Arena Wales on Saturday night against one of the most likeable characters in British boxing Sean Dodd (15-3-1, 3KOs) for the commonwealth title.
Cordina is a former Olympian who represented Team GB at the Rio Olympics in 2016 before turning professional in April of last year. The 26-year-old looks to have a bright future and is being fast-tracked through the 135lb division.
With six knockouts in seven pro fights the ‘Welsh Wizard’ has accumulated only 18 rounds of boxing so the challenge of Merseysider Sean Dodd will be his toughest to date.
Dodd who is a former commonwealth lightweight champion and a two-time British title challenger brings a wealth of experience to the plate. Fan favourite ‘Masher’ Dodd always try’s to take his opponents into uncharted waters so this will be a big step up for the Welshman.
Earlier in the year Dodd lost the rainbow title to Tommy Coyle by TKO in the sixth round so the 34-year-old will be eager to defy the odds and capture the title for a second time.
The young Welshman is competing in his first scheduled 12-rounder and has never been past the fourth. Dodd will look to force the fight into the middle rounds to test Cordina’s conditioning.
As long as Cordina doesn’t waste unnecessary energy trying to take Dodd out early he should be able to dictate the pace of the fight. Questions will be asked of the home fighter but with the crowd and his natural ability this fight should end inside the distance in Cordina’s favour.
‘Miss GB’ Natasha Jonas (6-0, 5KOs) is moving up the rankings at a fast pace with Katie Taylor her target as she takes on Brazilian Viviane Obenauf (12-4, 6KOs).
Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov (2-0, 1KO) will want to impress the Welsh crowd and show why he is being touted as one of the world’s very best prospects. The Kazakh southpaw should pick up his third victory against Hungarian Gabor Gorbics (24-11, 4KOs).
Unbeaten Welsh duo Sean McGoldrick and Koby Davies will be in action, while the hard-hitting light-heavyweight talent from across the Atlantic Anthony Sims will be on show plus Jordan Gill and a few others complete a stacked lineup.