British heavyweight hero Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20) will put his WBA, WBO and IBF titles on the line when he clashes with once-beaten Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin 34-1 (24) at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night.
Sky Sports UK asked some of Britain’s leading boxing voices and heavyweight rivals how they thought the fight would play out.
Tony Bellew: “He’s 100 per cent focused on Alexander Povetkin. Now he’s going to start seasoning and maturing into a very clever, good fighter, and he understands that he has to focus on every opponent, every time out. He cannot afford to be thinking what is going to happen between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. That is not on his mind whatsoever.
“It’s not on his mind, because he has a very formidable challenge in front of him in Povetkin, a fellow Olympic gold medallist, a fellow highly-decorated amateur. You give this guy an inch, he’ll take a mile. He’ll take your head clean off.”
Dillian Whyte: “I don’t think he will be distracted. Right now, AJ is the man at the minute. All these guys are just playing games and running around him really.”
Carl Froch: “Fans can turn on him, but that’s what happens when you put yourself in the firing line. He might be a bit angry. He will be trying to make a statement in this fight. What would Deontay Wilder do to Povetkin? You have to compare.”
Joseph Parker: “No, Joshua won’t be distracted. He is a professional and will be focused on what is in front of him.”
Johnny Nelson: “He was the hunter and now he’s the hunted, so it’s a different mentality. When you’re the hunter you know your path and what you’re chasing. When you’re the hunted you have the responsibility of being champion.
“He needs to deal with opponents who have done years of homework on him, in just a 10-week training camp. People mistake nerves for fear. Joshua is scared of losing. He says that his challengers are colluding together.”
Matthew Macklin: “AJ’s saying all the right things again, he seems focused and grounded. Despite his fame, stardom and achievements, he keeps his feet on the ground and it’s because he has a good team around him balancing and influencing him well.
“These events are huge, but again he has not taken his eye off the ball. This is a tough fight and this is the best opponent he will have faced other than Klitschko, but he’s aware of the situation – every fight is huge now for AJ.”
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