Anthony Joshua admits to feeling pressure ahead of Alexander Povetkin fight

Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin ahead of their fight
Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin ahead of their fight

Anthony Joshua is feeling under "tons of pressure" as he nears the latest defence of his world heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley.

The IBF, WBA and WBO champion is returning for the first time to the scene of his finest hour as a professional - last year's dramatic 11th-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko - but does so at a time when he will be harshly judged.

That negotiations for a unification fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder ended in frustration led to Saturday's fight with the less-glamorous Povetkin, his mandatory challenger and a significant underdog.

Sky Bet make Povetkin 8/1 to pull off an upset with Joshua a heavy 1/9 favourite.

Tyson Fury's return and swift agreement to a fight with Wilder has also led to wider criticism of Joshua, who in his last title defence against Joseph Parker in March was taken the 12-round distance for the first time.

Who would you back based on these statistics?
The tale of the tape

Against his 39-year-old challenger, anything less than a convincing victory is likely to lead to further criticism, and Joshua said: "There's loads of pressure; tons of pressure. That's the reality.

"You're calm and collected but underneath it all it's the reality. We both know what we are in for. It's the same with every fight.

"What more can I do than give my best? I'll go out there and find a way to win.

"I know I have a lot of fire in my belly; that's just as important as skills.

"Skills and technique apart, we both have a big heart and can dig deep. We both showed that against Klitschko (who Povetkin lost to on points).

"The one who's toughest will come out victorious."

Anthony Joshua takes on Alexander Povetkin at Wembley on Saturday night
Click on the image for our big fight guide including TV details and more

Povetkin, like Joshua an Olympic gold medallist, represents the champion's toughest fight since that against Klitschko.

He has since overcome Carlos Takam and Parker, when for the first time his performances were criticised, and his trainer Rob McCracken said: "(Povetkin) is a fighter from a different level. With respect to Parker and Takam, Povetkin comes from the top level."

Similarly to their first press conference, Povetkin was again far smaller than Joshua.

It was a size disadvantage that contributed to his only defeat in 35 fights, by Klitschko in 2013, but he said: "Joshua is one of the strongest in the division. Anthony is a very strong fighter but I am just as strong.

"When I fought Klitschko I was much weaker and in worse shape than I am now."

Related boxing links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

Fan throws beer in MVG's face

Michael van Gerwen had beer thrown in his face before his World Darts Championship match against Alan Tabern but bounced back to claim a 3-1 victory.

Sporting Life's big game preview for Liverpool v Manchester United
2

Reds too good for arch rivals

Liverpool are backed to make a fast start at Anfield to help them get the better of arch rivals Manchester United in Sunday's huge showdown.

3

Daily Nap: A good Account

Matt Brocklebank heads to Carlisle on Sunday with a young Donald McCain representative given the confident vote.

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race4

Sunday's racing preview

Xpo Universal is Nick Robson' best bet and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pgaes5

Paper Talk: Wilson to Chelsea?

Chelsea 'confident' of agreeing £30m deal for Callum Wilson, Paul Pogba could return to Juventus in a swap deal and more, all in Saturday's back pages.

Most Read

Michael van Gerwen (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

Fan throws beer in MVG's face

Michael van Gerwen had beer thrown in his face before his World Darts Championship match against Alan Tabern but bounced back to claim a 3-1 victory.

Sporting Life's big game preview for Liverpool v Manchester United
2

Reds too good for arch rivals

Liverpool are backed to make a fast start at Anfield to help them get the better of arch rivals Manchester United in Sunday's huge showdown.

3

Daily Nap: A good Account

Matt Brocklebank heads to Carlisle on Sunday with a young Donald McCain representative given the confident vote.

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race4

Sunday's racing preview

Xpo Universal is Nick Robson' best bet and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pgaes5

Paper Talk: Wilson to Chelsea?

Chelsea 'confident' of agreeing £30m deal for Callum Wilson, Paul Pogba could return to Juventus in a swap deal and more, all in Saturday's back pages.

Racing Tips

Check out our daily preview with tips for every race

Sunday's racing preview

Xpo Universal is Nick Robson' best bet and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Daily Nap: A good Account

Matt Brocklebank heads to Carlisle on Sunday with a young Donald McCain representative given the confident vote.

Ashley Iveson previews the action on Saturday

Saturday's racing preview

Ashley Iveson makes Guitar Pete his best Saturday bet and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off

08:00 Mumbai
4
(10)
Flaming Martini
J: D Allan
7
(3)
Findlerhof
J: P Trevor
5
(8)
Wabi Sabi
J: D R Shubham

Football Tips

Sporting Life's Premier League preview

Saints to grind it out

The first Super Sunday game sees Arsenal attempt to continue their unbeaten run as they face Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton.

The Sporting Life Team's best bets for Saturday 15 December

Saturday's Bets of the Day

We provide a snap-shot of our best bets for the weekend across a range of sports in one convenient place.

Sporting Life Accumulator

With the Sporting Life Acca landing again last weekend, we've got four selections this week all to win enhanced to 40/1 with Sky Bet.