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.
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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 holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles after only 21 fights.