Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles this weekend when he takes on Alexander Povetkin in front of a sell-out Wembley crowd.
There hasn’t been the usual bad-mouthing in the build up to this and in fact Joshua has paid lip service to the Russian heavyweight ahead of Saturday’s fight in London and refuses to underestimate the task at hand for him to retain his belts.
Our boxing expert looks ahead to Saturday’s fight and gives his best boxing bets for the bout.
Joshua taking no chances
Anthony Joshua survived a small scare in his last fight when Joseph Parker took him the full 12 rounds for the first time in the champion’s professional boxing career.
AJ won on points that evening to retain his titles, but it has perhaps shown him there are no ‘gimmes’ in these high-profile occasions. Even Carlos Takam took him ten rounds before his team threw in the towel.
The Watford-born brawler has admitted to feeling slightly tired ahead of the fight but has acknowledged his trainers have put him through a gruelling regime for the benefit of this fight. That suggests AJ is preparing for this one to go the distance again.
He is still the heavy favourite going into the fight at Wembley, which is expected to welcome a crowd of 80,000 on Saturday evening. Joshua is 1/10 to win the bout against Povetkin with Grosvenorsport.com
Povetkin out to ruin the party
British boxing fans may not be too familiar with Alexander Povetkin, but the 38-year-old Russian previously held the WBA belt from 2011 to 2013 and has worked hard to deserve the right to face AJ.
He knocked out David Price on the Joshua and Parker undercard in Cardiff and has only suffered one defeat since his professional debut in 2005 – losing by unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in Moscow in 2013.
Both are Olympic champions, with Povetkin winning gold at the 2004 Athens Games – eight years before Joshua did the same in London.
He may not be in his prime, but his experience shouldn’t be underestimated, and this will be his last shot at title glory before he inevitably hangs up his gloves. He’s 11/2 to cause an upset at Wembley and defeat AJ in his own back yard.
This could go the distance
I’d be lying if I said I expected anything other than a Joshua victory on Saturday night at Wembley. He thrives on the big occasion and he’ll have learned valuable lessons from his recent fights against Takam and Parker.
Bigger fights may lie in wait for AJ, but he’ll be focused for this one and pay Povetkin the respect he deserves. It’s hard to say if this will go the full 12 rounds, but I would be surprised if it finished in the first six.
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