Alexander Povetkin has gone the way of 95 per cent of Anthony Joshua's other professional opponents – finished within the distance – a result that, while not all that surprising, does shine a positive light on Joseph Parker's performance against the man with the sledgehammer right hand.

At the age of 39, Povetkin looked anything but washed up as he charged at Joshua with leaping left hooks and overhand rights from the first bell.

He got success there too, with blood trickling from Joshua's nose after the early exchanges, but such is the 28-year-old Englishman's accuracy and power and youthful energy that the brutal stoppage in the seventh round was as inevitable as Tyson Fury slagging him off afterwards.

It was the first time that Povetkin, a tough former Olympic gold medallist, had been stopped in 36 professional fights. The only other man to beat him as a professional is Wladimir Klitschko.


This was a performance and a result that Joshua needed to not only retain his three recognised world titles, but to draw a line under his last fight against Parker in April.

That fight at Cardiff's Principality Stadium was more chess match that bar-room brawl – a relatively sedate state of affairs helped by the appalling officiating of referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who refused to let either man – but particularly the shorter Parker – engage on the inside.

But Parker should be proud of the part he played in that fight, which was extremely close after six rounds before Joshua pulled away. The scrutiny on him was enormous in the days before and as he walked to the ring in front of a crowd of nearly 80,000 people in what was a truly intimidating cauldron.

The performance highlighted his movement and defence – his overall ring craft – and while Parker lost his WBO world heavyweight title to Joshua, he had plenty of reasons to be happy regardless (the multi-million dollar payday would have helped).

Although he didn't put Joshua in any serious trouble, he himself was never hurt. It proved Parker's qualities as an elite fighter on the world stage, a state of mind and body he must rediscover after his loss to Dillian Whyte in London in late July which has sent him back to a difficult re-building phase.

We saw once again Joshua's power and precision at Wembley Stadium this morning, but we saw again too that he can be vulnerable to pressure, that his defence isn't water-tight, and that he can be hurt – especially when struck on the nose.

Carlos Takam rattled Joshua when striking him on the nose during their fight in Cardiff in October last year and while it's not necessarily an area of weakness, it's an area of potential vulnerability.

Now it's up to Parker to ensure that his most notable performance didn't come in a defeat to Joshua, easily the biggest name in boxing in the world today. Starting with a fight in Auckland, Christchurch or the United Kingdom before Christmas, it's up to Parker to put himself in a position where he could be a champion again.