This Saturday marks the biggest fight of the year to date in the Heavyweight division when unified WBA,WBO,IBF and IBO World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua (21-0) takes on one of his most dangerous assignments to date in Russian bulldozer Alexander Povetkin (34-1). The fight takes place at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000+ fans in what is sure to be a must-see event.
AJ has admitted to feeling the pressure in the run up to this fight as lucrative fights await in the shape of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in 2019. Joshua knows he cant look by former World Champion Povetkin as this is possibly his toughest fight to date. Yes of course some may argue Klitschko or Parker were tougher fights but styles make fights and what we know with Povetkin is that he will not be coming to the UK for a dancing match, instead to take Joshua's head clean off.
Povetkin from Chekhov, Russia has an outstanding pedigree. One that has seen him capture Olympic Gold similar to Joshua, and one that has seen him become WBA World Heavyweight Champion making four defences of the title in the process. The only blip in his career came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko when 'Dr Steelhammer' was flourishing in his prime. Povetkin who tasted the canvas in the defeat to Klitschko courageously seen the fight through to the very end losing a wide points decision.
There was no disgrace in losing that fight as Klitschko was midway through his domination of the Heavyweight Division and will surely go down as one of the best Heavyweights of all time. Since the defeat Povetkin has won his last eight fights, beating some top contenders in the process such as Manuel Charr, Carlos Takam, Mike Perez, Mariusz Wach and David Price, all whom he knocked out/stopped. Some can even argue he inflicted a more impressive beating on Takam than Joshua as 'Sasha' had him out flat on his back, something AJ wasn't able to do. On the other hand, Joshua was able to solve the Klitschko puzzle stopping the giant Ukrainian inside eleven rounds in a thriller, something Povetkin was not able to do.
At todays weigh in Joshua outweighed Povetkin by 1 stone 10lbs, tipping the scales at 17st 8lbs 5oz. Povetkin came in at 15st 12lbs. I can understand why both have came in at their respective weights. Joshua needs to be bigger to try and be the bully with raw power and size. Povetkin is not known as mover and will stand and throw so Joshua needs to be the bigger man to try and use his size to lean on Povetkin on the inside exchanges to tire out the Russian quicker. For me Povetkin's weight is great also. Hes never going to be light on his feet but needs fast powerful hands, which his weight tells me is the plan.
Its a fascinating fight one that Joshua needs to be on his game, as Povetkin is definitely capable of the upset. For me, looking at recent fights Joshua seems to be improving and getting more ring savvy where as Povetkin is now approaching 40 and did not look great stopping David Price in March. I think Joshua needs to be cautious early, fire out his ram rod jab and stay a fraction out of distance. If he does this look out for him turning up the heat and getting Povetkin out of there inside 4-8. However if he doesnt he could be in hot water as Povetkin will not need an invitation to go in and throw bombs and presents high danger to the Brit retaining his titles. For me, Joshua wins mid rounds after perhaps coming through an early scare. Pre-fight fever is definitely here.