Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin: Joshua fights Povetkin as a mandatory bout but Wilder is the opponent he wants. However, if Povetkin defeats Joshua, the unification discussion might change. Only time will tell. Both parties say they want it to happen. It’s just not happening this year.
The 38-year-old Povetkin was the WBA champion from 2011 to 2013 and is now the WBA’s mandatory challenger, meaning Joshua has to fight him or face being stripped of his title.
Anthony Joshua has vowed to “shut down” the knockout power of Alexander Povetkin.
The 39-year-old challenger has only been beaten once in his career, a loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, and boasts 24 knockouts from his 34 wins.
Promoter Eddie Hearn fears the fight will be the second toughest of Joshua’s career behind his epic win over Klitschko last year.
And 28-year-old Joshua is certainly not taking his opponent lightly.
The Brit said: “In the heavyweight division not only are they talented but one punch changes the course of the fight. We all know that story.
“He’s got that punching power, he’s got big knockouts on his record, so it’s down to me to handle business accordingly.
“He’s a threat with the left hook, but not only that, it’s how tough they are, how much do they want it?
“He could have the best left hook in the world but if I keep punching him and breaking him down it might stop him from doing that, so these attributes need to get shut down early.
“I’ve got to annihilate that from early on. He’s got a lot in his locker so I need to take control early.
“The last time at Wembley was against Klitschko, and I think Povetkin is the right opponent to bring that style of fight out of me. It’s all about the ‘W’.”
“I can’t wait to return to Wembley for what I believe will be one of the biggest tests of AJ’s career. Last time he was there he produced one of the most dramatic fights and endings in the history of the sport and I expect this fight to be full of energy and drama. Said: Promoter Eddie Hearn
Anthony Joshua Say’s “I can’t wait to get back in the ring – the end of March feels a long time ago now. Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.
Alexander Povetkin Say’s “The battle for the World title has always been my goal. I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the world and on September 22 I get my opportunity. Anthony Joshua has four belts and I want them all. I’m glad that our fight will finally take place, the meeting of two Olympic champions in the ring is destined to be a breath-taking event.”
Joshua to win on points. Povetkin may be 38 and in the autumn of his career, but he is still a hugely-fierce competitor and will be a major obstacle for the Briton. This fight will more than likely go the distance.