Wembley Stadium set for return of Joshua
PUBLISHED: 14:00 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 23 September 2018
PA Archive/PA Images
Heavyweight world champion last fought at Brent venue in April 2017
World-class boxing is set to return to Wembley Stadium for the first time in almost 18 months when Anthony Joshua defends his heavyweight world titles on Saturday.
The 28-year-old will put his WBA, IBF and WBO titles on the line against Russian challenger Alexander Povetkin this weekend.
The bout marks Joshua’s first return to being in the ring at Wembley Stadium since beating Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.
In one of the best world heavyweight title bouts for many a year, Joshua delivered a brutal stoppage in the 11th round to beat the great Ukrainian.
Though Povetkin operates at nowhere near the level Klitschko once did, he will still provide a stern test of Joshua’s ability.
The 39-year-old was last in action March when stopping David Price in the fifth round on the undercard of Joshua’s points victory over Joseph Parker in Cardiff.
In 35 fights, Povetkin’s has lost just once with that defeat coming against Klitschko in October 2013.
The Russian is also a previous world champion, having worn the WBA strap from August 2011 until that defeat against Klitschko.
And speaking last week, Joshua says he knows he can ill-afford to take Povetkin lightly on Saturday.
The 28-year-old told PA Sport: “In the heavyweight division not only are they talented but one punch changes the course of the fight. We all know that story.
“He’s got that punching power, he’s got big knockouts on his record, so it’s down to me to handle business accordingly.
“He’s a threat with the left hook, but not only that, it’s how tough they are, how much do they want it?
“He could have the best left hook in the world but if I keep punching him and breaking him down it might stop him from doing that, so these attributes need to get shut down early.
“I’ve got to annihilate that from early on. He’s got a lot in his locker so I need to take control early.
“The last time at Wembley was against Klitschko, and I think Povetkin is the right opponent to bring that style of fight out of me. It’s all about the ‘W’.”
In an intriguing move, Joshua announced earlier this year that he will fight again at Wembley Stadium in April 2019.
It is hoped his opponent then will be the victor of the proposed clash between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and former world champion Tyson Fury, but Joshua must first plot a path past Povetkin.
*Infographic provided by GentingBet.