Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you will be fully aware that we are now just hours away from Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight title defence against Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
Many are predicting British superstar Anthony Joshua to successfully defend his WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles and cause Povetkin only his second career loss.
However, Povetkin is not a man to be taken lightly despite weighing in 24 pounds lighter than Joshua ahead of the fight.
And here’s why……….
Despite being 39-years of age, Povetkin is a former Olympic gold medallist like his opponent Joshua although the Russian won his gold medal eight years earlier at the 2004 Athens games.
He is also a mean kickboxer having won the European Championships in 2000 and the W.A.K.O. World Championships 1999 before turning his attention to boxing.
However, after his boxing gold success, Povetkin took a year off before turning professional in 2005 and made his debut against Muhammad Ali Durmaz in Germany in June that year.
It took just 1:23 min of the second round for the man dubbed the White Lion to record victory and from there he excelled.
On the 27th August 2011, he faced off against Uzbekistan fighter Ruslan Chagaev and won by a unanimous points decision to claim the vacant WBA Heavyweight title.
Impressive defences of the title against top class opponents such as Hasim Rahman followed before his golden chance came against Wladimir Klitschko at Moscow’s Indoor Olympic Arena.
It was not to be for Povetkin as he failed to do what Joshua managed and lost on points to the Ukrainian in 2013.
It remains to date Povetkin’s only defeat as wins over Carlos Takem and that brutal knockout of David Price, as well as a host of other opponents, has followed.
Povetkin has bounced back well from that Klitschko defeat and has earned himself the right to be Joshua’s mandatory challenger.
There is no doubt that Povetkin offers Anthony Joshua a real challenge and if the Englishman is off his game, then Povetkin will punish him.
However, expect the crowd to give the Russian something of a rough ride after he was suspended by the WBC in March 2017 after failing a second drugs test and was fined nearly £200,000.
However, in November the WBC lifted the ban and he has risen to third in the WBC rankings.
On paper, it should be Joshua’s fight, but one slip-up and Povetkin has the power to punish making this fight much closer than many people realise.
Watch out Joshua, this is no walk in the park.