British-born Nigerian Anthony Joshua returns to the Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night putting his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA titles on the line against Russian WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The fight, which will be broadcast in over 160 countries, is an attempt by Joshua to retain his titles while Povetkin seeks to return to the top of the category.
The fight has a reported £26m purse with Joshua expected to take home up to £20m while Povetkin will receive £6m.
Povetkin, 39, who has lost only once in 35 fights, is a 2004 Athens Olympics gold medallist. He has won 24 of his fights by knockouts while 10 have ended in his favour by unanimous decisions. His only loss came against Vladimir Klitschko in 2013.
Joshua, who is undefeated in 21 fights – 20 of which he won through knockouts, added the WBO world heavyweight title to his collection when he beat Joseph Parker by unanimous decision in March at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The London 2012 Olympics gold medallist defeated Klitschko at Wembley on April 29, 2017 to win the WBA world heavyweight title. He successfully defended the three titles against Carlos Takam on October 28, 2017 in Cardiff.
The 28-year-old, whose parents come from Sagamu in Ogun State, has revealed his sights are fixed on becoming the first man to hold all four major heavyweight world titles – a quest that could be on the cards if he wins on Saturday.
The Povetkin clash was agreed on after both camps of Joshua and WBC world heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder failed to agree on talks for a unification fight. The WBA ordered the fight after Povetkin knocked out David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard.
According to Boxing Scene, Saturday’s fight will also satisfy the mandatory WBO title defence since Povetkin was ranked as number one by both WBO and WBA. The bodies also agreed that Joshua would be named the super champion should he defeat Povetkin.
Meanwhile, Joshua was over a stone-and-a-half heavier than Povetkin as they weighed in for their fight at Wembley on Friday, Skysports reports.
The unified champion weighed four pounds more than for his last title fight against Joseph Parker, tipping the scales at 17st 8lbs 5oz, with Povetkin coming in at 15st 12lbs, one stone and 10 pounds lighter.
Povetkin said after the weigh-in he was not bothered by the development.
“It’s a very comfortable and good weight for me, I feel great,” Skysports quoted him as saying via a translator.
“I didn’t see anything in his (Joshua’s) eyes. I have prepared for speed and power.
“I’m very calm, I feel no pressure and am very happy about this fight taking place so soon.
“It’s very pleasant for me to see fans of mine here in England rooting for me. I don’t make predictions, it will be an interesting and thrilling fight.”
Despite the weight advantage, Joshua insists he is agile enough to bring up his 22nd professional victory.
“He’s going to be quick, going to be fast, so I’ll put on my dancing shoes and be fast with my feet,” Joshua told Skysports.
“I’m a physical, strong guy, who knows how to box.”
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