Joshua to Say a Little Prayer for Povetkin | Kwesé

Joshua to Say a Little Prayer for Povetkin

Joshua to Say a Little Prayer for Povetkin

12:15 SAST | 04 Sep 2018

Aretha Franklin, known as the Queen of Soul, died earlier this year. She was 76. Aretha wowed the world with songs like ‘Respect’ and ‘I Say a Little Prayer’. What most people don’t know about this classy diva is that she was a keen boxing fan who was close friends with Muhammad Ali. She performed at the Foreman – Ali ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight, held in Zaire (now DRC) in 1974.

She was also a fan of Mike Tyson, saying, “He’s awesome, totally awesome. When he knocks guys over they look like falling trees. Their knees don’t buckle or anything. They just go sideways.” One wonders what she would make of today’s heavyweight icon, Anthony Joshua and would she approve of how the big fights are now happening in England and not America.

With the likes of Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and Tony Bellew fighting out of England, these are good times for the sport in that country. Not only that, but Anthony Joshua has a real shot at becoming undisputed champion. Against Povetkin he’ll be defending his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts. It’s just the WBC title (owned by Deontay Wilder) that’s missing. Should Joshua beat Povetkin, and Wilder beat Tyson Fury in their fight, then Wilder vs Joshua becomes an inevitability.

Interestingly, the last man to be crowned undisputed heavyweight champion was also a Briton, Lennox Lewis, who retired in 2003. In a recent interview Lewis remarked on the rise of British boxing: “When I was growing up America was the Mecca for boxing. Everyone wanted to box in New York or Las Vegas and the belts were in America. Now most of the belts are in England so what you’re going to find is a lot of people coming to England to fight because they want these belts.”

Joshua will be fronting up against Povetkin in front of 90 000 fans at Wembley stadium. Not only will the Russian have to best a highly rated fighter, but he must also overcome the away crowd disadvantage. But Lewis was adamant that the 1.88m (six feet two inches) brawler must not be taken lightly: “Povetkin is very dangerous. He’s been there a while and throws a good shot. He knocked out David Price so he’s definitely got leverage and power. AJ (Joshua) better take him very seriously because he can change history.”

While some say Povetkin is a bit short, we must not forget that the great Mike Tyson was only 1.78m (five feet eight inches). And, as Aretha Franklin pointed out, Tyson felled taller men like a lumberjack taking a chainsaw to a tree. Respect is what the Russian wants. But Joshua’s camp will be singing a different song…maybe something like, ‘I Say a Little Prayer (for you)’.

Don’t miss Joshua vs Povetkin LIVE on Kwesé Sports 1 (22 September).

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