Joshua odds-on to defend title as Povetkin date confirmed

Anthony Joshua will defend his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at London’s Wembley Stadium on September 22.

Povetkin is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBA title and a successful bout against the Russian would give the London 2012 Olympic champion greater freedom to choose his next opponent.

Joshua had been hoping to fight fellow unbeaten heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who holds the World Boxing Council belt, but he could yet face the American in April 2019.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring. The end of March feels a long time ago now,” said Joshua, who beat Joseph Parker of New Zealand by unanimous points decision in Cardiff on March 31.

“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.

“Training hasn’t stopped for me, but the next 10 weeks ahead will be intense both mentally and physically.

“I will push myself to breaking point to make sure I am in peak condition for another huge night for British boxing at Wembley Stadium on September 22nd.”

Joshua, 28, won his first world title in 2016 and has made five defences, taking his record to 21-0 with 20 knockouts.

Joshua has taken the Povetkin fight after failing to agree a deal with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who offered Joshua $50m to fight in the United States, but the Joshua camp wanted the bout in the UK.

Now fight fans have to wait for a unifying bout, as no heavyweight has ever held all four recognised world titles.

Bookmakers are convinced that Joshua will be more than capable of defending his title and he is already rated at 1/10 with Povetkin as long as 5/1.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “AJ’s next opponent has finally been confirmed and the odds suggest it’ll be yet another victory for the Brit.”


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