Anthony Joshua to Defend Heavyweight Belts Against Dangerous Povetkin

Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua will defend his crown against formidable challenger Alexander Povetkin this weekend in London.

Updated: Sept. 20, 2018 • 1:26 PM ET

Anthony Joshua is looking to keep his undefeated record this weekend.

Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against 39-year-old Russian contender Alexander Povetkin on Saturday at Wembley Stadium in London.

Joshua is undefeated at 21-0 with 20 KOs and most recently defeated Joseph Parker by unanimous decision in March for the WBA title. He was expected to fight American WBC title holder Deontay Wilder next, but neither side could come to terms on the fight. Joshua also needed to book with Povetkin, the mandatory WBA challenger, as a failure to book the fight in favor of a fight with Wilder would have stripped Joshua of the WBA belt. Wilder is now scheduled to fight former champion Tyson Fury.

The fight against Parker was the first for Joshua to go to a decision and it became more evident that at times, Joshua isn’t so hard to connect on. But Joshua’s speed, power and IQ have been too much for any heavyweight to handle, so far. He also displayed his grit in his fight with Wladimir Klitschko after being dropped and nearly finished, weathering the storm to finish Klitschko in the 11th round.

Aside from Parker and Klitschko, the 28-year-old has victories over Carlos Takam, Eric Molina, Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale and Dillian Whyte, amongst others. He won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and has been on a rampage ever since, turning pro in 2013. He has fought four times since the start of 2017 and holds the advantage over Povetkin, but he shouldn’t overlook the former WBA champion.

Povetkin is 34-1 with 24 KOs and coming off a fifth-round knockout of David Price in March. His only loss was to Klitschko by unanimous decision in 2013 and he, like Joshua, is a former Olympic champion, winning a gold medal at super-heavyweight at the Athens Games in 2004. Povetkin has victories over Takam, Manuel Charr, Andrzej Wawrzyk, Hasim Rahman, Cedric Boswell and Chris Byrd.

The biggest black mark on Povetkin’s career is his suspension for testing positive for PED’s twice in an eight-month span in 2016. He has certainly proven himself since being reinstated and now has the opportunity of a lifetime to be champion once again by taking down a fighter who many see as the top dog in the heavyweight division. Needless to say, a win in spectacular fashion over Joshua would shock the world.


Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a WBC lightweight title eliminator between Yvan Mendy and Luke Campbell. The fight is a rematch from 2015, after which Mendy won by split decision. Since that fight, Mendy has won seven straight fights, his latest being an eighth-round knockout of Jesus Arevalo in December. Mendy is 40-4-1 with 19 KOs in his career and has never been finished inside the ring.

Campbell is 18-2 with 15 KOs and most recently defeated Troy James by fifth-round TKO in May. Aside Mendy, his only other loss was to title challenger Jorge Linares by split decision last September. Prior to the loss to Linares, Campbell had won five straight after fighting Mendy the first time. The 30-year-old from the UK is looking to put on a show for his hometown crowd at a sold out Wembley Stadium.

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