Wembley Stadium will soon be packed with over 80,000 fans as they will witness a key bout in the heavyweight division. The undefeated and unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will put his titles on the line against Alexander Povetkin who is making his second attempt to win multiple world titles. Both guys look to be in top shape ahead of their fight as Joshua weighed in at 246 pounds while Povetkin weighed in at 222 pounds. They are considered to be in the top 3 in the heavyweight division, and the winner would clearly be regarded as the #1 guy at heavyweight. Let’s look at what is at stake for each fighter.
Joshua comes in at 21-0 and aspires to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Since April 2016, he won the IBF title over Charles Martin, then won the IBO and WBA “super” titles with a win over Wladimir Klitschko, followed up with a stoppage win over Carlos Takam, and then in March of this year outpointed Joseph Parker to get the WBO heavyweight championship. He has one more title left to get to become the undisputed champion, but before that happens he will defend against his mandatory for the WBA title in Povetkin. It is a tough fight of sorts but he feels like he should be able to get past the Russian. He gave acknowledgement to the pedigree and experience of his opponent and believes that is why this is a big challenge for him.
“(Povetkin) is one of the lighter heavyweights, but that means that he has a lot of speed,” Joshua said of his opponent. “I spar against guys that are just as quick as him. I spar against cruiserweights…it is difficult, but a good fighter will always find a way (to win).”
Joshua also looks forward to fighting in Wembley Stadium once again. The last time he fought at the venue was against Klitschko, which was one of the most compelling fights in the heavyweight division in years and garnered multiple Fight of the Year honors. The fact that there will be a lot of fans in attendance gives Joshua extra motivation to perform well on Saturday night.
“I just love to fight…Coming back here is a blessing because it’s time to put up a good performance…I feel relaxed and calm. It’s not new to me anymore, I feel like this is home.”
As mentioned before, Povetkin will try for the second time to become unified world heavyweight champion. In 2013, he went up against Wladimir Klitschko and lost by unanimous decision in a fight where he was knocked down four times. Since then, he has an eight fight winning streak including a knockout win over David Price that was part of the undercard of Joshua-Parker in March. His win over Christian Hammer last year put him in the position of mandatory contender and now Povetkin goes into Wembley Stadium looking to take over the spot of #1 heavyweight.
“I am in very good shape, and we had a very good camp,” Povetkin said at the press conference. “Joshua is the strongest in the division and I am happy to be fighting him. I feel that we are going to give the fans a very good show on Saturday.”
Povetkin is looking to show everything come fight night, as he did not really explain what weaknesses that he may notice from Joshua leading into the fight. However, he really wants to take home the titles back to Russia.
“I never try to say anything ahead of time, so you will see everything on Saturday night.”
While Povetkin did suffer a knockdown against David Price in his last fight, many still consider him to be a dangerous opponent for Joshua. It will be up to how the champion handles the smaller guy on Saturday night and if he allows the challenger to get to the inside and work the body and land short hooks. If Joshua keeps Povetkin at a distance with his jab, it could lead to bigger shots down the line. We will see how that comes about at Wembley Stadium.
Cover photo by Amanda Westcott of DAZN