Unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua went through the paces of a public workout on Wednesday at York Hall in London, just days before he will make his sixth defense against Alexander Povetkin.
Joshua also took time to talk to media members and offered his dream scenario for the fight on Saturday, which will take place before an expected sold-out crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London and serve as the first live event for the newly launched DAZN streaming service in the United States (4:30 p.m. ET).
"Hopefully take him down in Round 8," Joshua said, a tall order considering that Povetkin's only loss came by decision in 2013 when he challenged then-unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko, a fighter Joshua knocked out in the 11th round and sent into retirement following their epic 2017 consensus fight of the year at sold-out Wembley Stadium.
Many hoped to see Joshua face titlist Deontay Wilder this fall for the undisputed heavyweight title, but Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing elected to go in a different direction and made the fight with Povetkin, one of Joshua's mandatory challengers.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), 28, one of the United Kingdom's biggest sports stars, said Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) is not on his mind. He said he's all about Povetkin.
"Yeah I'm focused. I've come to a stage now where I have a deep world and my heart's big," Joshua said. "In sparring, I've tested myself time and time again. My coaches wonder what I'm doing in sparring, so sometimes I'll tell them to hit me because I know how to throw punches. I know how to fight, but the question is what I can take when it comes back.
"So with Povetkin, I'm completely focused, but also focused on having a good scrap, and don't mind coming away with a black eye and a cut nose because I want to give a bit to take a bit."
Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), 39, of Russia, a former secondary world titleholder, put himself in position for the fight with Joshua on March 31 when he knocked out David Price in the fifth round on the undercard of Joshua's decision win over Joseph Parker in their title unification fight at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
"I think right now I'm in one of the best shapes of my career. Although I'm 39 right now, I feel like I'm 25," Povetkin said through an interpreter. "I have Anthony Joshua in my sights, and that's all I'm focused about is this fight. This is very important fight for me and, of course, this will be one of my last chances to make an impact, and I will."
The fight will be a rare match of former Olympic super heavyweight gold medalists. Joshua won his gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012 and Povetkin stood atop the podium at the 2004 Athens Games.
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