‘Udachi Povetkin, I want to come to Russia’ – Anthony Joshua practices Russian skills (PHOTOS/VIDEO)
Joshua retained his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world heavyweight belts with a seventh-round TKO win against challenger Povetkin, who was ahead on two of the three judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
After a decent start a fierce right hand to the side of the head forced Povetkin back, the champion following it up with a flurry of punches and sending his opponent sprawling to the canvas with a left hook, right hand combination.
Povetkin desperately tried to make it to his feet, and, although his head went through the ropes on his way up, he managed to beat the count. Moments later Joshua, sensing blood, pinned the Russian on the ropes, forcing the referee to stop the fight at 1:59 of round number seven.
The judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage reflected the close nature of the fight, with scores of 58-56, 58-56, for the Russian and 59-55 for champion Joshua.
Following the fight, Joshua, who improved to 22-0 with 21 knockouts with the win, entered the Russian's dressing room to congratulate a battered and bloodied Povetkin on his performance.
"Respect, yeah," Joshua said as he bowed before Povetkin, who sported black eyes and had received treatment to a cut before the two shared an embrace. "Just respect, you good from amatuer to professional - very consistent," he continued, with the help of a translator, as the two again shook hands.
"And I want to come to Russia!" Joshua said to the former WBA titlist, who smiled back and simply said: "Come any time!" to which Joshua again said he respected the fighter with a symbolic bumping of fists.
Joshua will return to Wembley Stadium for his next fight on April 13, 2019, with the boxer posting a poll to his Twitter account of three possible opponents they would like to see him face, which inlcuded Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury or Dillian Whyte.
Almost half a million people had voted in that poll by the time of writing, with fans split on either former undisputed champion Fury or current WBC king Wilder, who last week signed a contract to fight each other on December 1 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles.
Joshua later tweeted a print screen of Tyson Fury having apparently blocked his account, with the caption "why so serious," ramping up the tension betweent the two Britons.