Anthony Joshua gets into DAZN
It wasn’t easy and there were certainly some shaky moments early on but Anthony Joshua was able to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles by stopping Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds, at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Joshua – who improved to 22-0 (21) – is no doubt among the most valuable commodities in all of sports.
He is the recognized heavyweight champion and has a high enough profile that he has long outgrown mere arenas but has to now play in full-blown stadiums to accommodate the masses. He is literally and figuratively the biggest figure in the sport of boxing.
However is he becoming increasingly vulnerable? Yeah, I said it, vulnerable.
Early on versus Povetkin, Joshua was hit with right hands and had his nose bloodied. Povetkin showed some veteran savvy by laying traps on the hulking Joshua and hit him squarely as he took away the distance in which Joshua was comfortable laying out his jab. There’s no doubting Joshua’s technical acumen but his punch resistance is questionable.
Since getting shaken up by Wladimir Klitschko in last year’s memorable heavyweight slugfest, we’ve witnessed a more cautious and safe Joshua, one who doesn’t so much dive right into things but dips his toes in the water before getting into the deep end. A fighter can absolutely change once he gets hurt for the first time (see Hector “Macho” Camacho, post-Edwin Rosario) and it’s clear that Joshua, who still possesses prodigious power, is one at the world-class level who will box a bit before banging it out. And to be fair, Klitschko and Lennox Lewis before him altered their styles and strategy and proceeded to have Hall-of-Fame careers.
This is what took place with Povetkin, who had early success but was steadily worn down by Joshua’s heavy jab and eventually was caved in by his power in the seventh. When he gets going with his hands, it’s an impressive sight to see. Joshua said of his finish, “You tend to lose instinct as you get older but I believed in myself. I knew when the time was right. I know he’s strong to the head but he’s weaker to the body…When the opportunity came, I saw and I took it.” There aren’t many heavyweights whom can put their combinations together quite like the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
His chin might be suspect but Joshua’s power is the eraser and it makes up for whatever deficiencies he has. “At this level, it’s never going to be easy. Povetkin is a tough challenger, for sure, but I knew how to break him down,” said Joshua in the aftermath of his latest conquest.
As of this moment, Joshua is the best heavyweight in the world, not just in popularity but in resume. While he was announced as the “undisputed champion” of the heavyweight division, that is factually incorrect because there is a guy by the name of Deontay Wilder, who is in possession of the WBC title and the consensus is that the “Bronze Bomber” poses the greatest threat to Joshua with his game-changing power.
It’s THE fight of the heavyweight class but, for the time being, has yet to come to fruition. The reality is that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn view Wilder as a bit too risky, at this point in time. Yes, Wilder himself has had some harrowing moments and is a fundamentally flawed fighter but he has the type of power and reflexive hand speed to trouble Joshua. There has been plenty of rhetoric on both sides, in regard to this match-up and, in the latest salvo, Joshua said on Saturday night, post-victory, “If Wilder is not serious, there’s other people out there. When they’re ready, we’re ready…I’ll fight (Tyson) Fury if he’s ready.”
Hearn added, “I want Deontay Wilder because that is the biggest fight in world boxing…It would be the biggest fight in all-time British boxing history.”
Joshua’s next appearance is scheduled for April 13 at Wembley Stadium. The question is, will it be the showdown with Wilder? Seeing is believing. But given that both boxers have shown to be far from indestructible, both sides are seemingly playing a game of risk. At any time a stray punch can derail this potential hook-up.
But here’s the rub – Joshua can basically fight anyone (say Dillian Whyte again) and still draw monster numbers at the gate, while Wilder is still far from a household name in the States. As of this moment, the dance partners for “AJ” are basically interchangeable and Hearn/Matchroom Boxing will do all they can to delay this bout until they deem Wilder to be worth the risk. This means it’s imperative for Wilder and his brain trust to build his market value in the meantime.
Till then, Joshua will just stay in DAZN.
Signed up for DAZN on Thursday and I have to say that I like its layout and take away the fact that, doing this job, I pretty much have to subscribe to this platform, the boxing fan in me likes its early schedule of fights and, well, even if I didn’t, it’s my job to watch them.
While Hearn hasn’t signed many of the marquee American boxers he had hoped, thus far, with the addition of the World Boxing Super Series tournaments (including this Friday’s final between George Groves and Callum Smith for the 168-pound honors, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), it’s a good overall package.
And if you like other combat sports (and I’m just a boxing fan), it’s a solid value.
As for the stream, I really had no problems on my end and it was a clean broadcast. And if you couldn’t watch it live (and they aired the whole card), it was made available to watch on-demand later on.
Lightweights Michael Dutchover and Ruben Torres both won on Friday night, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California, and looked very good…Enjoyed having boxing on my laptop on Saturday afternoon, while watching the college football games…Still can’t believe Stanford rallied to defeat Oregon…So has the N’kosi Perry era officially begun at Miami? Let’s hope so…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.