Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin results: Joshua earns TKO in defense of unified heavyweight title

On a night where he wasn't necessarily at his best against an experienced opponent, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua made sure to save his best for last. Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), the sport's biggest star globally, broke open a surprisingly close fight against mandatory opponent Alexander Povetkin (34-2) with a thrilling assault of power punches to force a seventh-round TKO at London's Wembley Stadium.

Fighting in his hometown in front of nearly 85,000 rabid fans, Joshua remained poised after being buckled in the opening round and overcame a bloody nose to showcase his continued improvement after winning his first world title two years ago in just his 16th pro fight.

"A few years ago, maybe I wouldn't have won that fight but credit to my team for making my life easier," Joshua said. "It's about developing. I'm in it to win it and I'm in it to learn. But enough talking about my development, it's April 13 that I'm interested in here. The tougher the challenge, the harder the performance and the more you learn. This is chapter two. We are at a different level now and I'm here to fight on my feet again."

The 28-year-old Joshua, who defended his WBA, WBO and IBF titles, already has Wembley Stadium booked again for April 13. Although he mentioned amateur rival Dillian Whyte, whom he knocked out professionally in a wild 2015 bout, as a potential next opponent, Joshua admitted it's WBC champion Deontay Wilder that he would most like to face next.

Talks between Joshua and Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) fell apart over the summer following a lengthy soap opera which led to Wilder signing on to face lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) on Dec. 1.

"We both did a lot of talking, I'm not going to play the blame game," Joshua said about Wilder. "We are here now after a good fight and my right hand is back. I found it and lined it up right and now we are ready for April 13.

"There is always some complications in negotiations but the sport is about what the fans want. Sometimes you have to take care of your mandatories, which is what I did tonight. My No. 1 would be Wilder. That's it. Let me not talk about a No. 2 or a No. 3."

In this meeting between former Olympic gold medalists, the 39-year-old Povetkin was incredibly game throughout as momentarily wobbled Joshua in Round 1 with a brilliant three-punch combination. Povetkin, who landed just one body shot and four jabs, worked primarily as a head-hunter by darting in with heavy power shots.

Despite a tainted reputation thanks to a pair of failed drug tests in 2016, Povetkin put forth one of the strongest performances of his pro career. The heavy underdog appeared to have won at least half of first six rounds and succeeded in freezing Joshua and limiting his output in the rounds he controlled.

"Alexander Povetkin is a very tough challenger," Joshua said. "He proved that tonight with good left hooks and counter punches, but I come in here to have fun, do what I work on in the gym and give my best. I knew that he was strong to the head but weak to the body. These shorter guys are very good coming through the middle but let's not worry about that. Tonight is out of the way so let's worry about April 13. That's all."

Joshua, who later cut Povetkin above his left eye with a punch in Round 4, debated after the fight whether he actually was hurt in the opening round by saying, "Oh, whoa, whoa; I didn't buckle!"

But once Joshua, who held four-inch height and seven-inch reach advantages, was able to figure out Povetkin's awkward movement and time him with jabs to the head and body, the champion's size quickly became a factor. Joshua outlanded Povetkin 90-47 overall per CompuBox  and also found success with a lead left hook that began to slow Povetkin's forward movement.

The finish from Joshua in Round 7 was both violent and spectacular. He stunned Povetkin with a stiff jab and sent him staggering backwards with a short right hand. A left hook followed from Joshua before a leaping right hand sent Povetkin down. Referee Steve Gray gave Povetkin every chance to beat the count as the Russian nearly fell through the ropes while trying to regain his feet. He eventually did but was dropped again with a clean three-punch combination which forced Gray to wave off the bout without a count at 1:59 of the round.

Povetkin, whose lone pro defeat coming in was against then-champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, suffered the first stoppage loss of his career.

"There is a lot of pressure, I'm not going to lie to you," Joshua said. "The whole country is rooting for boxing. If it were just about me, I would just come in there and have fun but the energy in here spurs you on.

"I'm not interested who wins [Wilder-Fury], I worry about myself only. But best of luck to the winner and may the best champion win."Povetkin suffered just the second defeat and first knockout of his career despite appearing to win some early rounds against Joshua.

CBS Sports was with you for every punch from Wembley Stadium on Saturday night with our updates below. If you are having issues viewing the component or wish to refresh the scorecard, please click here.

Joshua vs. Povetkin scorecard


R1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12Total

Joshua

9

9

10

10

9

10

TKO

57

Povetkin

10

10

9

9

10

9

57

Joshua vs. Povetkin fight coverage

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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