On Saturday 22 September, Anthony Joshua will walk through the glittering lights at Wembley Stadium to fight a hardened, brutal boxer called Alexander Povetkin.
Povetkin, often called the boxer with a jaw of steel, is an Olympic gold medallist and once held the heavyweight title and drug smears from Russian sport.
This will be Joshua’s seventh heavyweight championship fight, the second at Wembley and an anticipated crowd of 80,000 means that just under 400,000 people will have paid to watch Joshua live in title fights.
Nobody in history at any weight and in any era can match the crazy numbers of the Joshua show and that is why he has so many lavish endorsements. He also knows how to smile, bow at the Palace and say the right thing between beating men senseless.
On 20 September, he met Povetkin on the edges of the Wembley turf for a face-off before shaking hands with the Russian. Joshua is doing his very best to be the nice guy, but many say the pressure is heavy on his shoulders.
He has faced many doubters leading up to this fight. He recently spoke to Steve Bunce on Five Live about the expectations. “I can’t bear the burden of the heavyweight division on my own,” Joshua reportedly said. “The other men have to fight each other – I can’t fight them all in one night. Nobody has done what I’ve done in just 21 fights.”
Povetkin not a walkover
Povetkin and his people are convinced Joshua has made a mistake. Many experts also believe that Povetkin is a bad choice for Joshua and there is a real risk of tears on Saturday night.
“If Joshua is smart, big and careful for the Russian,” Bunce says, he “should win.”,
“Povetkin will be surrendering height and reach. Povetkin always surrenders the physical edges and so far only Wladimir Klitschko has beaten him in 35 fights and that went the full 12 rounds. Povetkin loves fights against the division’s big, strong and tall men. Joshua ticks a lot of the boxes of the men Povetkin has so far crushed, and the walkover I keep hearing about is very unlikely.”
“Povetkin can beat Joshua, make no mistake, especially if Joshua neglects the careful approach and that happens when any boxer is hit and hurt.”