London - Anthony Joshua has admitted to feeling under
"tons of pressure" ahead of his latest world heavyweight title
defence against Russia's Alexander Povetkin at London's Wembley Stadium on
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic champion, will be fighting in front
of his home London crowd as he looks to extend his unbeaten professional record
to 22 consecutive wins when he puts his International Boxing Federation, World
Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation titles on the line.
The fight sees Joshua returning to the scene of arguably his
greatest triumph, an 11th-round stoppage of former champion Wladimir Klitschko
But he will be under particular pressure to deliver this
time around. Many boxing fans had hoped this weekend would see Joshua up
against World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Negotiations with the American's camp have proved fruitless,
although whether that's the fault of Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn, Wilder's
management or some combination of both - the often protracted nature of talks
before a 'mega fight' actually takes place makes it difficult to say.
That Britain's Tyson Fury, himself a former world
heavyweight champion, is set to meet Wilder in Las Vegas in November, as he
continues his comeback to the ring is a reminder that Joshua is not the 'only show
in town', either domestically or internationally.
Joshua's last fight saw the 28-year-old taken the distance
for the first time in his professional career, but he secured a unanimous
decision over New Zealand's Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March.
"There's loads of pressure; tons of pressure,"
Joshua told a Wembley news conference on Thursday. "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."
Joshua added: "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 beat Povetkin on
"The one who's toughest will come out victorious."
A crowd of some 80 000 is expected at Wembley and Joshua
said: "Coming back is a blessing - it's time to put on a performance.
"This is not new to me, this feels like home."
The night Joshua outpointed Parker at Cardiff's Principality
Stadium, Povetkin demonstrated his considerable punching power on the
undercard, with a fearsome fifth-round knockout of Britain's David Price.
Povetkin, like Joshua, is a former Olympic champion, having
won gold at Athens in 2004.
The only blot on his 35-fight professional record is the
2013 defeat by Klitschko.
He will be giving away several inches in height and reach
against Joshua, but Povetkin is convinced he is now a stronger fighter than the
one beaten by Klitschko.
"Joshua is one of the strongest in the division,"
said Povetkin. "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."
Joshua's trainer, Rob McCracken, was in no doubt of
"This is a fighter from a different level, with respect
to Parker and (Carlos) Takam," he said. "Povetkin comes from the top