The date has been set for Anthony Joshua’s mandatory title defence against Alexander Povetkin, with the two scheduled to fight at Wembley Stadium on September 22.
Some have been quick to write off the 38-year-old Russian, but the bout against the former Olympic and WBA heavyweight champion will by no means be easy for Joshua.
Not only has Povetkin lost just one fight – on points to Wladimir Klitschko – on his way to a 35-1 record, he has fared very well against some of Joshua’s previous opponents.
In particular, Povetkin comfortably dispatched French-Cameroonian Carlos Takam, against whom Joshua managed only a controversial stoppage.
The Russian’s 2014 victory over Takam ended with a 10th round knockout and gained Povetkin the WBC Silver heavyweight title.
Joshua fought 37-year-old Takam in October 2017, beating the veteran with a 10th round stoppage, which many onlookers and journalists felt to be premature.
Joshua had originally been supposed to fight Kubrat Pulev, but the Bulgarian pulled out with a shoulder injury shortly before the fight.
This gave Takam just 12 days to prepare for the fight, and he was still able to cause serious problems for the 28-year-old Briton.
Watch the brutal ending from Povetkin vs Takam below.
In the years since his convincing defeat of Takam, Povetkin has faced a string of doping allegations leading to cancelled fights against Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne.
He was banned indefinitely by the WBC in early 2017, but was reinstated last December.
His most recent fight came against Liverpudlian David Price in March, with the Russian knocking Price out in the fifth round.
It was this victory that placed Povetkin in position to be Joshua’s mandatory challenger for the WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, and judging by his previous performances, it looks like he’ll give the Briton some serious problems.
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