Last night’s violent festivities were a great testament to the team GB boxing program. Three British Olympic alums picked up pivotal career wins at Wembley Arena.
Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell avenged a prior loss against Yvan Mendy. Campbell is becoming a really exciting presence in the lightweight division.
Campbell moves with a unique and slick dynamism, which he used to out-fox Mendy. He frustrated his opponent with elusive movement and capitalised when he took a dejected step back, hands down.
The points win places him in the WBC mandatory challenger position. The lightweight title picture is complex. Pound-for-pound king, Vasyl Lomachenko will unify with Jose Pedraza, before potentially facing WBC titlist, Mikey Garcia.
Garcia is also targeting welterweight title fights though. Regardless of how that situation pans-out, Campbell is in the mix.
Lawrence Okolie out-pointed Matty Askin to capture the British cruiserweight title. Although Okolie has a ways to go, this win is a great boon for his career. Defending the British title could be a great spot for him; he can grow in this position as he faces talented challengers.
In the main event, Anthony Joshua overcame a dangerous opponent, the performance overshadowed future greatness. Tricky fights like this push Joshua one step closer to eventually being one of the sport’s timeless champions.
Joshua did not have the perfect fight. Povetkin took every round for the first five. The champion struggled with Povetkin on the inside, his power was clear to see and he is good at finding those overhands from the pocket.
Despite the initial ire of casual fans at the failed Wilder negotiations, they realised during this bout what a tough opponent Povetkin is. I watched the fight in a bar and I could sense the crowd realising Povetkin’s ferocity. There was a tension in the place as he was landing powerful combos.
If the fight had continued in that fashion, Joshua would have lost. However, he pulled it out of the bag. That is what great champions and great men do. They make it work when the chips are down. Shades of Muhammad Ali.
The Ali comparisons do not stop there. After the fight, he turned into an analyst and statesmen on the mic. That post-fight speech was a superb promotional device for the eventual undisputed title clash.
This event was a crescendo to a forthcoming career climax. Tony Bellew will have his one final swan song in December. The final orchestral climax to a career, that like a musical piece, has surprised and captured many along the way. It is great to be a sports writer with narratives like this at play.