A few days ago, Anthony Joshua was horrified to discover that his Range Rover, 150,000 pounds, had been stolen in London late at night. And when he takes on Alexander Povetkin at Wembley next Saturday, he knows he should be wary of another daring break-in that points to three things even closer to his heart: his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts. “Povetkin is dangerous,” he says. “He does not really throw so many punches, but suddenly, boom! I can not afford any opportunity.”
Povetkin may not be the most interesting of the names for the most casual boxing fan, but aside from Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, who are expected to contest the former WBC belt this year, there is no more dangerous opponent for Joshua in the division. .
Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin will not run out, admits Eddie Hearn
Certainly, the Russian pedigree is impeccable. He won gold in the super heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympics, has a 34-1 record in the professional categories and held the WBA title for almost two years before his only loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 It also hits accurately and terribly hard, as it reminded the British audience by brutally arresting David Price on the undercard of Joshua’s fight against Joseph Parker in April.
“It will be a real destructive work,” says Joshua. “He will be waiting for me to come in and then he will hit me.” So I have to take him out of his game and harass him a bit. ”
However, there is a dark side to Povetkin, who has been banned twice after testing positive for banned substances, first for meldonium in May 2016 and then for ostarine seven months later. Considering his doping record, many in the sport believe that the Russian should not be in the ring, but Joshua is confident that his opponent will be clean due to the most complete test of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association that both fighters have registered.
“We’re doing the same thing, so whatever the testing regime he was in before, probably this time we’ve gone a little bit more,” says Joshua, who has been tested 12 times in the past three months. “I’m sure he also wants to prove he’s clean.”
The only defeat of Alexander Povetkin was against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
Alexander Povetkin has won 34 professional fights, losing only to Wladimir Klitschko five years ago. Photography: Kommersant Photo / Kommersant through Getty Images
Joshua’s response to those who doubt the provenance of his impeccable physique is emphatic: he is clean and always has been. “Since the London 2012 Olympic Games they have been testing me non-stop,” he says. “It’s an integral part of my regime now, I know the testers really well, tea cups, they know my routine, I’ve done everything, angry at them, I’ve done it all, there are no secrets.”
There are also no secrets on how to handle the 6-foot-2 Povetkin, with Klitschko beating him comfortably using his height and reach advantage to win by a large margin of points. However, Joshua promises to take a different approach. “Klitschko’s performance was phenomenal,” he says. “Staying behind the left jab the whole fight was very hard to do and very smart, I think I’ll approach it differently, doing more to put it in its place.
Anthony Joshua says he does not need a winning statement against Povetkin
“My plan is simply to relax and have fun, but in heavyweight boxing you can be ashamed and feel bad, so I want to go there and overcome it, overcome it, outsmart it and hopefully be victorious.”
Joshua also promises that his fight will be more explosive than his wide, though slightly boring, point victory over Parker. “There was a lot of pressure in that fight because I thought Wilder would arrive,” he admits.
The bookies make Povetkin, who turned 39 this month, an 8-1 underdog, can throw a surprise, which sounds pretty good. And the Russian has no illusions about what awaits him. When asked if Joshua represents an even greater challenge than Klitschko, who ruled the heavyweight division for most of a decade, he agrees. “Definitely,” he says, before insisting that he’s ready to make a big splash. “Since the Klitschko fight it has been a long time, and I can assure you that I have become stronger, wiser and smarter.”
Maybe that’s true. But, as always, Joshua’s fists are ready and willing to end up with his opponent’s best-laid plans.
- Anthony Joshua to win in round 1: 18/1
- Anthony Joshua to win in round 3: 11/1
- Anthony Joshua to win in round 6: 9/1
- Anthony Joshua to win in round nine: 12/1
- Anthony Joshua to win by decision: 10/3
- Alexander Povetkin to win: 7/1
- Povetkin to win by decision: 25/1
- Povetkin to win by KO, TKO or DQ: 8/1
- Anthony Joshua to be knocked down and win: 8/1