Matchroom Boxing have confirmed that Anthony Joshua’s next fight will be against Alexander Povetkin on the 22nd September 2018 at Wembley Stadium. The expected announcement has been made after the WBA ordered the unified champion to sign for a mandatory title defence with the Russian.
Povetkin, 38, featured on the undercard of AJ’s bout with Joseph Parker last March in Cardiff, where he brutally knocked out David Price in the fifth round. Following his sole defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, ‘The White Lion’ is on an eight-fight winning streak heading into the Championship matchup with Joshua.
Ten days ago, AJ confirmed that he would be returning home for his next two fights, which will take place at the iconic Wembley stadium on 22nd September, 2018, and 13th April 2019.
Today, it has been confirmed that his next opponent will be Povetkin, although his April opponent is still to be confirmed.
Russia’s White Lion brings a professional record of 34 wins (24 by KO) and just one loss against Wladimir Klitschko.
At 6ft 2, Povetkin will be giving up four inches in height, and 7 inches in reach against AJ. But has shown throughout his career the ability to close the gap against taller opponents with explosive punches.
Further evidence of this was provided when he defeated Liverpool’s David Price (6ft 8) in the fifth round.
Povetkin’s boxing reputation took a hit in 2016, as he failed two drug tests in an eight-month period, and was subsequently fined £250,000 by the WBC.
Following his Cardiff victory over Parker, Joshua had called out the WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
AJ, who currently holds the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles, needs Wilder’s WBC belt to fulfill his ambition of becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
The last time there was an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was between November, 1999 and April, 2000, when Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield, successfully unifying his WBC belt with Holyfield’s WBA and IBF belts.
Eddie Hearn had confirmed that he had sent Wilder a contract for a fight in April 2019, which aligns with the confirmed date of AJ’s next scheduled fight after Povetkin.