- WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight Champ Anthony Joshua faces mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin on September 22nd at Wembley Stadium
- This isn’t the fight we asked for, but it could turn out to be a very entertaining event
- Joshua is the heavy favorite, but don’t underestimate Povetkin
Joshua vs Wilder is the fight we’re all waiting for, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer. First, Anthony Joshua needs to fulfill his title obligations and fight the mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin.
It’s assumed that AJ will maintain his unbeaten record and face the winner of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury in the biggest heavyweight fight of the decade, but let’s not look past Povetkin. The burly Russian is the third-ranked heavyweight according to Ring Magazine and is coming off a big knockout victory over David Price.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has big plans for Joshua and an extremely lucrative mega-fight looms just beyond the horizon. Povetkin is the one man standing in their way.
Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin Odds
It should come as no surprise that Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) is the clear betting favorite by a wide margin. He’s the top-ranked heavyweight in the world, a four-title world champion, and a man in his physical prime. Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) is a formidable opponent, but he’s nearing 40 and has shown his age in recent fights.
Povetkin’s only loss has been to Wladimir Klitschko, and AJ should start there when devising a game plan. Klitschko used his height and reach advantage to keep Povetkin at bay, and picked him apart over 12 rounds. Povetkin was unable to find any success and ended up losing 119-104 on all three scorecards.
At 6’6”, Joshua towers over the 6’2” Povetkin and boasts a reach advantage of seven inches. AJ won’t want to take unnecessary risks. He doesn’t need to prove anything with an exciting win or a big knockout; he just needs to defeat his mandatory challenger in order to set up a money fight. Povetkin can afford to throw caution to the wind.
If Povetkin can turn the bout into a brawl, he stands a decent chance of upsetting the champ. He does his best work on the inside and isn’t afraid to roughhouse his opponents in the clinch. It doesn’t make for great viewing, but it means he stands a chance against absolutely anyone.
Carlos Takam broke AJ’s nose with a stray headbutt in the second round, which almost altered the course of the fight. Joshua was able to get the job done and stopped Takam in the tenth round, but it was tougher than expected. The awkward height difference made head clashes unavoidable and Takam’s crafty head movement only made things worse.
At 39, Povetkin is nearing the end of his career. He was sluggish in his last fight against David Price and had some nervous moments before landing the knockout. He’s also tested positive for banned substances two times in the last two years.
Still, it seems Povetkin is being underestimated here. He’s an Olympic gold medalist with some very notable wins on his resume. Joshua and Hearn are gearing up for a super-fight next year, but a loss to Povetkin would completely shatter their plans. With a bit of luck, I can see the Russian pulling off a shocking win.
Pick: Alexander Povetkin (+800)