Joshua to fight Povetkin at Wembley in September
Russian challenger will be British heavyweight's toughest opponent since Klitschko
British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has confirmed he will defend his titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on 22 September.
“The unified world heavyweight champion faces his WBA mandatory challenger Povetkin as he returns to the scene of his epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko in front of a post-war record crowd of 90,000 in April 2017,” says Sky Sports.
Joshua was ordered to fight Russian Povetkin or give up his WBA title after talks with Deontay Wilder stalled earlier in the year.
“Negotiations for Joshua to face American Wilder were accommodated by the WBA for over two months but with no agreement in place between the fighters, the boxing body called for the Briton to face mandatory challenger Povetkin,” explains the BBC.
And BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello says Povetkin will be a tough opponent.
“There is no question he will bring the fight to Joshua. He will not be standing off in the way Joseph Parker was last time, he will not be cautious in the way Carlos Takam was in October. He will take it to Joshua,” he says.
“It's not like Povetkin will bring something he has not seen before, it's just that Povetkin is aggressive and just keeps on the front foot.”
The 38-year-old Russian has lost only one fight – to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 – and is “a dangerous opponent who could ruin the possibility of a Joshua-Wilder megafight”, says Dan Rafael of ESPN.
He is also a controversial figure. “Povetkin has twice failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs and gotten off with little more than slaps on the wrist.”
Steve Bunce of the BBC calls him a “flawed man”, but adds: “As a fighter, I like him. I think he's dangerous, I think he's accurate, I think he has a brilliant boxing brain.”