Anthony Joshua will defend his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley on September 22.
Russia’s Povetkin is the mandatory challenger to his WBA title, and by fighting him Joshua should secure greater freedom in selecting his next opponent.
The 28-year-old Briton has been in training while negotiations with WBC champion Deontay Wilder stalled, but could yet face the American in April 2019.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring. The end of March feels a long time ago now,” said Joshua, who beat Joseph Parker by unanimous points decision in Cardiff on March 31.
“Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.
“Training hasn’t stopped for me, but the next 10 weeks ahead will be intense both mentally and physically. I will push myself to breaking point to make sure I am in peak condition for another huge night for British boxing at Wembley Stadium on September 22nd.”
IT’S ON! @anthonyfjoshua will defend his WBA,IBF,WBA and IBO World heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at @wembleystadium on September 22! New York press conf tomorrow and London on Wednesday 🇬🇧🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/NDCn7EpgvX— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) July 16, 2018
Povetkin, 38, stopped David Price on the undercard of Joshua’s victory over Parker, having previously fought for the titles Joshua now holds in a 2013 defeat to Wladimir Klitschko.
“The battle for the world title has always been my goal,” Povetkin said. “I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the world and on September 22nd I get my opportunity.
“Anthony Joshua has four belts (including the little-known IBO title) and I want them all.
“I’m glad that our fight will finally take place. The meeting of two Olympic (super-heavyweight) champions (Povetkin won in 2004, Joshua in 2012) in the ring is destined to be a breathtaking event.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Last time (Joshua) was there (against Klitschko, in April 2017) he produced one of the most dramatic fights and endings in the history of the sport, and I expect this fight to be full of energy and drama.
“Povetkin is a top-three heavyweight and extremely dangerous but in AJ I see the best heavyweight in the world and I think we will see a major statement.”
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