Anthony Joshua knew the Wembley crowd were demanding a crushing knockout victory over Alexander Povetkin.
And the 29-year-old Londoner duly delivered with an epic seventh-round blitz, finishing off the Russian 1min 59secs into it to successfully defend his WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO crowns.
He will now go after a clash with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, or Tyson Fury if, as expected, the pair get it on in December.
But for this week at least he can be seriously delighted with a job very well done against a tough, tough man.
This was Joshua’s second outing at Wembley Stadium after his sellout clash with Wladimir Klitschko here in April last year.
He’d been on the road to Cardiff for his two fights since then, against Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker.
And while the 29-year-old failed to set the Principality Stadium alight in either of those two fights, he still managed to keep that revered ‘0’ on his record and take Parker’s WBO title in doing so.
Kiwi Parker became the first man to take Joshua the distance in March with Joshua subsequently admitting he’d perhaps taken an eye off his immediate opponent with the prize of a clash with Deontay Wilder expected to follow.
Despite all the talk — and, as ever with boxing, there has been plenty of it — the Wilder fight still hasn’t been made and he is expected to announce a battle with Fury will take place on December 1.
The majority of fight fans hope the man who triumphs in that meeting will be Joshua’s opponent back here at the national stadium on April 13 in a winner-takes-all contest.
It would have been easy for Joshua to see Povetkin as a similar stepping-stone fight towards the bout that will see one man crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
So there was plenty of danger ahead and he knew it as he made his way to the ring with the best part of the 70,000 here carrying him in on their cheers.
Joshua suspected Povetkin, who many people believe should not have been fighting at all after failing two drug tests in 2016, would not throw that many punches.
That he’d wait to pick his moment then try to land the sort of blow that would take a 100-year-old oak tree from its routes, let alone another human being.
He knocked David Price into the following week when they met on the undercard of Joshua-Parker, although last night’s opponent has always been of a different class to his countryman.
But even though Joshua, with his four-inch height advantage, started the fight brighter, Povetkin caught him with a big right uppercut and followed up with a left hand which wobbled the champ’s legs right at the end of the first round.
Povetkin targeted Joshua’s bloody nose early in round two as the home fighter worked behind his jab to try to settle himself into the fight.
Both found a way through as the third began in a fight which had long since shown it wasn’t going to go the distance.
Povetkin was cut around his left eye as Joshua continued to jab his way back into the fight and the Russian began to look like he had expended a lot of energy in those early rounds.
A big left followed by a right uppercut from Joshua had the crowd on their feet as he looked to move through the gears but Povetkin followed him, impressing with his counter-punching.
However impressive it was, it was nothing on what AJ concocted in the seventh.
A big right rocked Povetkin, then a left and both hands rained down until he crashed to the canvas.
He beat the count but only just and Joshua finished him off seconds later.
Most Watched Videos
Most Read News
- Girl Smarts: Kate Hudson’s fabletics line looks like this in real life
- Guy Smarts: How many calories do you burn while you sleep?
- Odd Enough: Is it acceptable to shave on public transportation?
- Five killed in torrential Tunisia rains
- WHO Warns Against Air Pollution-related Deaths
- Committee Under Fire To Release Report On Asawase Police Killings
- Experts To Green Northern Ghana
- Bongo: Agriculture Activities Affected Due To Lack Of Good Bridges
- Blame NDC on DTV Migration Delay, Not NPP
- ‘Communications Ministry Always Disgracing Gov’t’
- LEAP Currently Serving Over 456,000 Households
- Kumbungu Youth Chief On Police Wanted List
- Habitat Fair Offers Great Deals
- This Is The Most Photographed House In Africa
- Ghanaian Striker Seth Painstil Scores Again As Admira Beat Wacker In Austria
- Cameroon Captain Benjamin Moukandjo Retires From International Football
- CAF Confederation Cup: Enyimba Clobber Rwandan Side Rayon Sports To Book Last Four Spot
- Lacazette And Aubameyang Earn Arsenal Win Over Everton
- Opinion: Welcome to college. Your parents are in the tents next door
- World: Armed with a laptop and a spreadsheet, he takes on the city's biggest landlords
- Politics: How 2 guys in a Connecticut jail cell helped change the way America does drugs
- Entertainment: Life is a cabaret (and Alan Cumming is tending bar)
- World: Hurricane Florence has gone, but challenges for the Carolinas have just begun
- Finance: Wall Street's convinced that Tesla will need to raise more cash — and has some theories about how and when that may happen (TSLA)
- World: Nigerian herders' biggest fear: Not lions, but farmers
- World: Talk of the 25th amendment underscores a volatile presidency
- World: Tentative deal reached for Aavanaugh accuser to testify on Thursday
- World: Japan vows to cut its nuclear hoard. Neighbors fear the opposite
- Group To Validate OGP Commitments
- 60 Years Of GMA: Ntranoa And Surrounding Communities Undergo Health Screening
- Ghanaian Youth Should Be More Innovative
- Breast Cancer Is A Disease Not A Curse
- CAF Champions League: These four clubs have qualified for semis
- Sports: Packers coach Mike McCarthy freaks out at referees after Clay Matthews called for another questionable roughing-the-passer penalty
- Golden Clash: AshGold beat Kotoko in 5-goal thriller
- Sports: 'It doesn't look good': 49ers fear Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending knee injury
- Finance: Weed stocks have become so popular that Robinhood is having trouble executing trades for one of the most-popular names
- Politics: Step aboard the USS Kearsarge, the US Navy workhorse that takes Marines to war
- Shocking: Woman sustains injuries jumping out of moving taxi after driver tries to rob and kidnap her
- Young girls primary victims of humanitarian strife
- Richmond Boakye Scores For Red Star Belgrade In Draw At Partizan In 'The Eternal Derby'
- AshantiGold Defeat Asante Kotoko In 'Golden Clash' Return Encounter