You watch the big boxing matches but don’t really understand what it is you’re seeing. In spite of this, when the fighters touch gloves, you get swept up in the action and start shouting instructions at the boxers you see on screen. It isn’t long before you’re telling everybody around you that “they should just smash each other – proper ‘ard!”
We’re here to help you sound like an expert when you’re watching Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin, instead of yet clueless punter. Go through our guide below to bob and weave your way to boxing guru status – or at least learn enough to shout some informed opinions at Topgolf’s giant screen on Saturday night.
1) Know Your History
Everybody knows AJ’s rags to riches story, from Watford to the Olympics to Heavyweight champion of the world. But how much do you know about his next (and perhaps most dangerous) opponent Alexander Povetkin?
The former European kickboxing champion from Kursk, Russia also possesses Olympic pedigree, having steam-rollered his way to a gold medal at Athens 2004. Perhaps even more impressively, Povetkin went on to conclude his amateur career by avenging all previous losses, taking an already solid amateur record up to 125 wins and 7 losses. Though he might not have set the pros alight as AJ has, Povetkin’s professional record is more than impressive; having lost just once as a heavyweight, to a prime Wladimir Klitschko – 24 of the Russian’s 34 victories have come from knockouts. At the age of 38, this could well be Povetkin’s final chance to beat a truly elite fighter.
2) Scan the records
Joshua jabbed his way to victory against Joseph Parker in his last fight earlier this year, taking his unbeaten record to 21-0. Some fans were unhappy with the AJ’s pragmatic approach but pundits believed it was a sign the Watfordian had added another weapon to his arsenal – a weapon that could be vital against the attacking Povetkin.
Povetkin’s last fight was against David Price on the AJ vs Parker undercard, where he finished the “White Rhino” with a brutal straight right-left hook in the fifth round, after being hurt in the third. Price isn’t the only known fighter the Alexander has stopped in his tracks; Carlos Takam, who took AJ twelve rounds, was floored by a signature left hook in the tenth. Despite hitting the canvas four times against Klitschko, Povetkin has never himself been stopped.
3) Check out the styles
Styles make fights – and many believe that Povetkin is a slugger tailor-made for Joshua. The “White Lion” stands flat footed and looks to pulverize his oppnenets with hooks to the body and upstairs, off both hands. But doubters beware, for Povetkin is no slow-motion slouch, despite a tendency to load up and go for the kill. At just 6 ‘2, the small heavyweight is fast on his feet and knows how to work his way inside against taller men, where his aggression can do damage.
AJ will believe this come-forward style suits him; he demonstrated improved defensive skills against Parker, and his counter-shot power has never been in doubt. If he can time Povetkin’s wild attacks, it should be lights out. But against a hardened, fearless opponent, AJ will have to make sure he on red alert for those trademark left hooks, which he does leave himself open for. Joshua has superior stamina to his counterpart, and may choose to jab on the outside until the second half of the fight, before closing in for a big finish.