BOXING analyst Nick Munday (@NM_Sport) shares his betting thoughts on Saturday’s big bout as Anthony Joshua meets Alexander Povetkin at Wembley.
Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin | Saturday 22nd September 2018, 22:00 | Sky Sports Box Office
Anthony Joshua. Deontay Wilder. Tyson Fury. The heavyweight division is sexy again.
This weekend Joshua defends his world titles against WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, the scene of his historic win over Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.
Six months after that triumph AJ stopped tough Cameroonian Carlos Takam (a late replacement for the injured Kubrat Pulev) before unifying with Joseph Parker at the Millennium Stadium on 31st March.
The Parker clash was a drab affair, not helped by some awful officiating from Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone, and AJ (21-0, 20 KOs) was taken to points for the first time as a professional. With his knockout streak coming to an end last time out, Joshua is hungry for a stoppage victory to recapture the imagination of the public.
“I boxed cleverly because I thought I was fighting Wilder next so I didn’t get involved. Now, I’ve had time to reflect on my performance and I think I’ll go back to the old me,” he told Sky Sports last month. “I’ll go guns blazing.”
While fans have clamoured to see a four-belt unification with Wilder this year, negotiations dragged over many months, leading to a series of squabbles as both camps accused the other of not wanting the fight.
Povetkin holds a stellar record
Povetkin holds a stellar record of 34-1 (24 KOs), with his only defeat coming to Klitschko on points back in 2013. He was added to Joshua’s undercard in Cardiff, and it seemed likely that he was in fact already being lined up as the next opponent, not Wilder.
The Russian had a back-and-forth battle with Liverpool’s David Price six months ago and nearly touched the canvas but was kept up by the ropes in the closing seconds of the third round. Price was knocked out in the fifth after a sickening right hand-left hook combination which left Price requiring immediate medical attention.
There are some interesting parallels to their careers. As amateurs they both won Olympic gold and Povetkin also lifted world championship gold, with Joshua earning silver at the worlds a year before London 2012.
In the paid ranks it took the visitor 22 fights to become world champion, while Joshua only needed 16 contests. However, in this match-up there are some key differences.
There are 10 years between them, and 6’6” Joshua is four inches taller and has a seven-inch reach advantage. That difference in arm length is bound to be a factor stylistically.
Povetkin has a dangerous left hook and he likes to get up close and personal by trading on the inside. As such, Rob McCracken will instruct Joshua to dominate behind his jab and gradually break him down at a distance.
The betting angle
Bookmakers believe he’ll become the first man to stop Povetkin (2/5 10BET).
Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted earlier this month that this event won’t sell out – a rarity when AJ is in town. With Wilder v Fury set to meet at the end of the year, Joshua will want to remind people that he is the number one by adding another knockout to his highlight reel.
In both the Klitschko (TKO11) and Takam fights (TKO10), Joshua came on strong in the championship rounds, and we could see a similar result on Saturday night with Joshua to win in Rounds 7-12 (2/1 Betfair) looking like the best bet.
A win for the Watford giant between Rounds 10-12 (15/2 BlackType) is also worth backing.
Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin – Anthony Joshua to win in Rounds 7-12 (2/1 Betfair)
Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin – Anthony Joshua to win in Rounds 10-12 (15/2 BlackType)