By Frankie Mines
Thousands will flock to Wembley Stadium once more on Saturday as Anthony Joshua looks to become 7-0 in world title fights, with the Russian Alexander Povetkin (WBA #2, WBO #1) standing in his way. It’s been a six month lay off for Joshua, who went the full distance for the first time in his professional career last time out against Joseph Parker, whilst Povetkin also turned out on the undercard against a spirited but ineffective David Price.
Anthony Joshua will come into this fight with distinctive advantages in both height and weight, and after his glamorous knockout streak came to end against Parker, he will be hungry to prove his power once more. With either Fury or Wilder seemingly poised for a unification in the near (or, given the current scene, distant) future, AJ will be focused on putting in a performance that reasserts his dominance as the number one Heavyweight on the planet. His Russian opponent may be fast and more than capable of holding his own should it descend into a brawl, but Joshua going the distance again could be a smart bet – Povetkin hasn’t been stopped in 35 fights, but can walk into shots (see Takam, Price fights).
After falling short against a Wladimir Klitschko at the height of his game, Povetkin amassed an impressive 6 knockouts and two unanimous decisions against decent opposition, and if he smells blood and manages to land big shots on AJ like Whyte, Parker and Klitsckho before him, the potential for Povetkin to walk away as the new WBA, IBF and WBO world champion looms large. In an often-scrappy bout with Parker, AJ was caught on the inside, and certainly will not want that this time around – ultimately though, the difference in reach could be pivotal.
Supporting the main event is Luke Campbell in a rematch against Yvan Mendy, and Campbell’s confidence should be high coming off the back of a well respectable performance against Jorge Linares and a routine stoppage versus Troy James in May. Mendy has coasted along against average opposition since the first bout three years ago with Campbell bulldozing his way through Derry Matthews and Darleys Perez, but despite opening as the bookies favourite, the Olympian from Hull shouldn’t expect a routine finish.
Elsewhere, Cruiserweight prospect Lawrence Okolie bids for Matty Askin’s BBBofC British Cruiserweight Title and whilst Askin is no mug, Okolie’s power should prove too much. It’s Okolie’s third straight title bid, and he’ll be looking for a huge finish to further emphasise his potential. The ever-present David Price returns against Seregy Kuzmin, who’s name should be familiar to Joe Joyce followers, and at Welterweight gold-mdeal Amateur Shakhram Giyasov takes on Julio Laguna.