The Big Question: Joshua vs Povetkin - who wins?
Boxing Monthly's number one ranked heavyweight Anthony Joshua faces number three rated Alexander Povetkin at Wembley stadium on Saturday. Members of the BM team are here with their picks and predictions...
The Povetkin fight is a 'necessary waste of time' to keep the WBA happy and three-fifths of the heavyweight title unified. Joshua applied the 'win this time, look good next time' approach to his points victory over Joseph Parker, but now he'll want to look good and I expect him to thump Povetkin out of there by the halfway mark. If I was willing to lose a few quid I'd go for Joshua by a second-round KO, but more realistic is the Russian being counted out on his feet, having been down, with pride keeping him upright, around the sixth. It's amusing though: the moment Fury and Wilder agreed to unify the other two-fifths of the title, they really stole Joshua's thunder and nicked all the interest in the heavyweight division clean away from AJ... and this was only compounded by him facing Povetkin. Hopefully the winners can meet in the new year. - Colin Harris
Povetkin is a significant threat to Joshua early on in this fight and we might see the latter ease into the opening rounds and test the waters. Once he establishes his jab and gets accustomed to what's in front of him, though I fully expect AJ to stop the Russian midway through the bout. Give me Joshua by sixth-round knockout after scoring an earlier knockdown as well. - Lee Gormley
Ever since Povetkin was announced to face David Price it was 99 per cent set in stone that AJ would be facing off against Sacha somewhere down the line. I have said from day one I believe Povetkin to be a more dangerous fight for AJ than if he were to face Wilder. Povetkin has to box and move. AJ has to be wary of the counter. Despite the danger the Russian brings, I still firmly believe Joshua stops Povetkin between rounds eight and ten. - James Lupton
With focus switching to Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury ahead of their apparent clash in December, Joshua needs to underline his position as the division's star turn with an emphatic performance. Efficient rather than show-stopping victories over Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker have illustrated AJ is not the finished article yet. The canny Povetkin should pose a few problems with his ring smarts and mastery of distance before Joshua wears him down with his sheer size and physicality. Joshua TKO10. - Mark Butcher
Strangely for a fighter as accomplished as Povetkin, it feels that we don’t know quite what to expect from the former Olympic champion on Saturday night. At 39, a year older than the great Larry Holmes was when blasted out by Mike Tyson, and with two positive PED tests in his recent past for meldonium and ostarine scuppering plans to challenge Wilder for the WBC title and then Bermane Stiverne for the WBC interim title a matter of months later, it’s difficult to know which version is most likely to come out fighting in late 2018. Povetkin hasn’t looked truly formidable since bludgeoning the hapless Johann Duhaupas - stand-in for Stiverne - in 2016 scenes reminiscent of the ‘anything goes as long as the audience sees blood’ Schwarzenegger flick 'The Running Man'. For the WBA, who once bestowed regular champ status on Povetkin, a series of wins against fringe contenders have somehow warranted elevating him to their mandatory status. Joshua has been learning on the job in front of huge audiences since winning his first portion of the heavyweight crown two-and-a-half years ago and showed maturity in his two Cardiff appearances since the epic win here against Povetkin’s sole conqueror, Wladimir Klitschko. With a date against the winner of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury surely on the horizon, one feels Joshua will take care of his business here. My pick is for a late Joshua KO - perhaps in the ninth round - to conclude an exciting but relatively one-sided fight which the champion has largely dominated. - Chris Williamson
I don't have a hell of a lot to add, from what seems like the general consensus that Povetkin will get spanked. However, the old Russian does possess one-punch power and fights out of a crouch - something which touches a chink in AJ's armour. Whyte and Takam were able to exploit their stance to good effect, but I doubt Povetkin will have as much of a spring in his step as those two did. I'm going with 90 per cent certainty for a Joshua win, via rounds four to seven stoppage, with a 10 per cent chance that Povetkin pulls off a Hasim Rahman-style upset with an overhand right. - Paul Zanon
As a 2004 Olympic Gold medallist Povetkin provides a worthy challenger for Joshua’s plethora of world titles. However, with two drugs violations behind him it is questionable whether he should still be involved in boxing at all. Having recently turned 39, and five years on from his defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, it appears likely that this opportunity has come too late. Nevertheless, the Russian has sufficient pedigree to make life tough for AJ and does possess concussive single-punch power, should the champion take his eye off the ball. For such a big Wembley heavyweight title fight night, everything feels strangely subdued, following as it does in the afterglow of GGG vs Canelo 2. Joshua also has the added pressure of needing a marquee performance following his efficient if underwhelming outpointing of Parker and his difficulties in putting away the resilient Takam. With Wilder vs Fury being hotly discussed for later in the year, a less than emphatic victory for Joshua, could lead to him being perceived as the spam filling between two slices of boxing’s artisan bread. I can’t see any other outcome than a Joshua victory, though. My money is on AJ wearing down the pale Russian in the early to middle rounds and forcing a stoppage in the third phase. Joshua by TKO somewhere between rounds seven to nine. - Garry White
There are two things that are probably true about Povetkin. The first is that he’s the second-best opponent Joshua’s faced to date, behind Klitschko. The second is that, despite the first, he’s probably close to tailor-made for Joshua to look very good against. Dangerous and intelligent, but lacking the craftiness of, say, Takam, or the speed of Parker, the Russian is at a considerable disadvantage in height, reach, and mobility. That didn’t matter against an even bigger man in David Price back in March, but AJ is an entirely different kind of test. Joshua has expressed a desire to return to the more aggressive approach that was a trademark of his first few title defences, and Povetkin’s efforts to close the range could well see him walk onto one of the short uppercuts that Joshua has employed well in recent bouts. It’s unlikely to be all plain sailing, though. Povetkin has the type of one-punch power that Joshua’s only encountered once before with Klitschko, and at the very least there should be a few right-hand near-misses to put the Wembley faithful on edge. Look for Joshua to take firm control from around the fourth round, before forcing the referee’s hand around six or seven. - Tom Craze
I think Joshua is going to have some fun in this fight, much like he did when getting Dillian Whyte in the ring in 2015. Joshua may not carry the world-class power of David Price but he's much more dangerous, consistent and methodical. After Takam and Parker, AJ also needs to shine. He needs to remind people why so many were drawn to him, particularly on the night he beat Klitschko. Povetkin carries threat but isn't as elusive as Parker and won't be as durable as Takam. A fun contest before Joshua asserts his superiority from the jab to his work on the inside. Joshua TKO 6. - Shaun Brown
Joshua will win. Although the consensus seems to be he will force a late stoppage, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a quick blowout, after some back and forth explosive action. To me Povetkin has looked well past his best for a while now. - Luke G. Williams
Final tally: Joshua 10 Povetkin 0