Alexander Povetkin is the shortest opponent in height and reach, and the lightest, of Anthony Joshua’s world-calibre career. But, writes James Dielhenn, that might favour the dangerous challenger…
Povetkin has been dwarfed by his rivals before, and invariably left them unconscious. He is a small heavyweight at 6’2” but uses his size to his advantage by crouching, ducking under the taller man’s jabs, and exploding when he gets inside.
This is essentially the challenge that Joshua, in defence of his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on September 22 live on Sky Sports Box Office, must overcome. Joshua, at 6’6”, is accustomed to being the taller fighter but he has never, since he began boxing top-class opponents, seen a rival throwing punches from so far beneath him.
How do Joshua & Povetkin measure up?
Height Reach Weight Joshua 6’6’’ 82” 17st 4lbs (last fight) Povetkin 6’2’’ 75” 16st 5lbs (last fight)
Povetkin is the shortest opponent in height and reach, and the lightest, of Joshua’s world-calibre career
Height Reach Weight (in AJ fight) Parker 6’4” 76” 16st 12lbs Takam 6’2’’ 81’’ 16st 12lbs Klitschko 6’6’’ 81’’ 17st 2lbs Molina 6’4’’ 79’’ 16st 13lbs Breazeale 6’7’’ 82’’ 18st 3lbs Martin 6’5’’ 80’’ 17st 7lbs Whyte 6’4’’ 78’’ 17st 9lbs
Russia’s Povetkin has experience in knocking out opponents of Joshua’s size. Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas and most recently David Price have a similar height and reach to Joshua, but couldn’t prevent Povetkin’s sneaky entries into punching range, and his ability to end fights with the left hook. Povetkin’s own short reach becomes an asset when he swings hooks from inside his opponent’s range.
Povetkin has KO’d in the past three years
Height Reach Price 6’8’’ 82” Duhaupas 6’5’’ 83” Wach 6’8” 82”
Does Povetkin’s height make him a difficult target to hit?
He might not look much on the face of it as in size, and physique and everything else, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that he’s a very accurate puncher. He’s not easy to land the right hand on, which is what I was looking for.
Will Joshua encounter trouble against a much shorter opponent?
He has problems with shorter opponents. I’m a little shorter than him and bigger than him, and I throw more punches than him. Somebody like me that comes forward and doesn’t take no for an answer – he’s going to have a long, dangerous, terrible night.
Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller
Is Joshua vulnerable to Povetkin’s favourite punch?
He’s always open for that left hook when he throws his right hand.
Povetkin will use Polish contender Izu Ugonoh, who stands at 6’5” with an 84” reach, to replicate Joshua.
Ogonoh told Sky Sports: “Joshua is a guy who is perfecting his right hand, and that’s his big punch. I think that’s also my strength. I believe that’s what they want to have in camp to make sure they are ready for what Joshua is going to bring to the table.
“I consider myself a strong guy. I know Joshua is a tall guy, he’s taller than me definitely, but I’m taller than Povetkin, so I’m sure that will be helpful.”
The Takam comparison
Joshua had his nose broken last year by Carlos Takam, who is the same height as Povetkin albeit with a longer reach. It was an accidental clash but a reminder of the dangers of fighting someone of a substantially different height.
“Short fighters are always tougher,” said Joshua after a gruelling outing against Takam that ended in the 10th round.
“They’ve got no neck, they can tuck up, and they’ve been dealing with guys my height their whole life, but we got there in the end.”
What is Joshua’s verdict on Povetkin’s threat?
He’s got a great left hook. Triple left hook sometimes, he throws. He is one of the best fighters on my record. He has a style I enjoy competing with, and I have no problem with – left hooks, right hand, defending and countering, boxing at range.
How Povetkin can be neutralised…
Povetkin’s sole defeat in 35 fights came when he was flummoxed by the height and reach advantage enjoyed by Wladimir Klitschko, who has almost identical measurements to Joshua.
Far from enjoying success on the inside, Povetkin was roughed up by Klitschko at close quarters. At range, Povetkin became easy pickings for Klitschko’s straight right hand – this spells trouble against Joshua.
Watch Anthony Joshua defend his world heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, on September 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.