Anthony Joshua has outlined his game-plan to beat Alexander Povetkin, saying he needs to ‘bully’ the Russian and swamp him with punches if he is to get through a major threat to his titles at Wembley on Saturday.
Povetkin can be ranked as Joshua’s second toughest assignment to date after his unification win over Wladimir Klitschko last year and it is known that there is anxiety in the Brit’s camp about the fight with his mandatory challenger.
The former WBA world champion, 39, has lost only once in 35 fights since turning professional after winning the 2004 Olympics and has shown his concussive power via 24 knockouts.
Anthony Joshua insists he needs to ‘bully’ Alexander Povetkin in order to beat the Russian
With his controlled aggression, he poses a tactical conundrum, which is heightened further by Joshua’s admission he is not yet technically equipped to follow the blueprint of Klitschko, whose jabbing masterclass inflicted Povetkin’s sole career defeat in 2013.
In explaining his plan for a compelling match-up, Joshua said: ‘He’s patient. He doesn’t really throw that many punches. You know if I am fighting a tall geezer it is jab for jab. But with Povetkin he is waiting and then, suddenly, it’s boom.
‘So it will be a real breaking down job. I can’t give him any opportunities. I have to stand on his ground. I know I can’t stand off it because he will be waiting for me to come in and then he’ll hit me. I have to take him off his game, bully him a bit, and bam, hit him. And also use a tight guard so you are not giving anything away.
Joshua applauded Wladimir Klitschko’s performance against Povetkin (left) in 2013
Joshua believes he needs another 10 fights before he could compare himself to Klitschko
‘Klitschko done a phenomenal performance against him (in a unanimous points win) – imagine staying behind the jab the whole fight. It’s very difficult to do. But very smart. I think I will approach it differently and hopefully it pays off.
‘Klitschko had time to develop – that is why he was able to do that. I am going to take a completely different approach.’
Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles after only 21 fights, added: ‘Me and Klitschko are so different when I look up our resumes and our style of fighting and the opponents we were fighting at the same stage.
‘For me to compare myself to Klitschko I probably need another 10 fights before I say I am going to box like him. In terms of experience he went through a lot of tough fights and learning fights before he got to that stage before he could beat Povetkin behind that jab.
‘I will try and do it but I am going to have to set a little bit more to put Povetkin in his place.’
Joshua now holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles after only 21 fights following his win over Parker
Povetkin comes into the bout under the cloud of two failed drugs tests in 2016. The vulnerability of boxing to cheats is down to the lack of testing, most notably out of camp, but Joshua revealed he has been tested 12 times in the build-up to this fight and claims to have no doubts about his opponent.
He said: ‘Whatever (testing) regime he was on before, we’ve probably gone that little bit extra. And I’m sure he wants to prove himself clean as well.
‘I have had maybe 12 tests, one a week. I’m with two or three agencies – UKAD and VADA.
‘Since the (2012) Olympics I’ve been drug-tested. Since the Olympics they have been testing me non-stop. It’s part and parcel of my regime now, drug-testing. I get to know the testers really well. Cups of tea, they know my routine. I’ve done it all, **** in front of them, **** in front of them, I’ve done it all, mate. There are no secrets.’
Joshua reiterates his intention to fight around the world provided there is no Wembley upset
Provided there is no upset against Povetkin at Wembley, Joshua has reiterated his intention to fight around the world.
He said: ‘The States. Africa. The Middle East. Asia. China. You never know. That is more for the management team. They will look at the market. Where to capitalise. Where to market me. And that is what they are really good at.’
Sky Sports Box Office will exclusively show Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin on 22 September from 6pm. Available to buy now at www.sky.com/joshua[http://www.sky.com/joshua