Joshua-Povetkin: A Look at Heavyweight Olympic Champions

For the second time in as many Wembley outings, Anthony Joshua faces a world-title showdown against a fellow former super-heavyweight Olympic gold medallist.

The 28-year-old Briton climbed off the canvas to dramatically halt Wladimir Klitschko in the penultimate round at England's national stadium in April last year.

On Saturday, he defends his IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO titles against Russia's Alexander Povetkin who, like Joshua and Klitschko, also reached the peak of the amateur boxing world before turning professional.

But starring in national colours on the biggest stage is no guarantee of glory in the paid ranks, as our rundown of the previous six big men to stand on the top step of the podium shows.

joshua-povetkin (1)

1996 – Wladimir Klitschko

Klitschko beat Tonga's Paea Wolfgramm in Atlanta to win Olympic gold, an opponent he would overcome as a pro four years later. By that stage, Klitschko had already lost to journeyman Ross Puritty and stoppage defeats to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster seemingly left him with nowhere to go. But a remodelled style under the great Emanuel Steward helped the Ukrainian to 18 consecutive world title defences. Tyson Fury ended his run and he went out in a blaze of glorious defeat to Joshua.

2000 – Audley Harrison

Superstardom beckoned for Harrison after his dominant triumph in Sydney but the outspoken Londoner rarely seemed suited to the professional ranks. His knockout of Michael Sprott to claim the European title while nursing a torn shoulder tendon marked a rare highlight, although it set up a somewhat pacifistic challenge for David Haye's WBA belt that made Harrison a subject of ridicule.

Nevertheless, he remains the trailblazer in terms of amateur boxing in the UK - his success in Sydney unlocking funding for those to come. Without 'A-Force', there would have been no Joshua, James DeGale or Amir Khan in the guise we know them today.

2004 – Alexander Povetkin

A walkover at the expense of Egypt's Mohamed Aly granted Povetkin Olympic gold in underwhelming fashion, arguably a foreshadowing of a paid career that has combined impressive achievement with little fanfare. He outpointed Ruslan Chagaev to claim the WBA crown in 2011, defending his title four times before losing to Klitschko in Moscow. That remains Povetkin's only professional loss but eight subsequent wins have come alongside failed drugs tests and the associated reputational ruin. Wembley is his cavernous last chance saloon.

2008 – Roberto Cammarelle

A stalwart of the Olympic super-heavyweight scene, Cammarelle was never tempted to trade in his day job as an officer with the Italian State Police for a shot in boxing's glamour division. Beaten in the 2004 semi-final by Povetkin, Cammarelle stopped David Price in the semi-finals and overcame home favourite Zhang Zhilei in the same fashion for gold at Beijing 2008. Four years later, he came agonisingly close to defending his title…

2012 – Anthony Joshua

Locked at 18-18 with the technically superb southpaw Cammarelle, Joshua was awarded a countback victory to spark bedlam in London. AJ's march through his professional foes to date has been met with similarly rapturous acclaim. He made short work of Charles Martin to become IBF champion in April 2016, just his 16th contest since turning over. His defining night against Klitschko secured the WBA title and the Povetkin bout is his first while in possession of the WBO strap taken from Joseph Parker earlier this year.

2016 – Tony Yoka

British hopes of back-to-back super-heavyweight golds ended when Yoka was controversially awarded the verdict in his Rio final against Joe Joyce. The Frenchman has won all five of his professional fights, four inside the distance, but will not be adding to that record in his homeland any time soon. The French Anti-Doping Agency has handed him a one-year ban for missing several tests in the space of a year.

"There was negligence on my part, especially after the Olympics," Yoka said, as quoted by Boxing News. "But this is not a doping case. There has never been any medication taken. I'm told I could box abroad, but I'm not interested. I always said I wanted to box in my country and bring the first world heavyweight championship belt here."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by P4Pdunny on 09-19-2018

[QUOTE=GlassJoey;19119652]I want to see Yoka vs Joyce.[/QUOTE] wouldnt mind that either

Comment by Clegg on 09-19-2018

What an exhaustive list.

Comment by Vinnykin on 09-19-2018

Be interesting to see the public work-outs later..... should be good with York Hall at capacity.

Comment by GlassJoey on 09-19-2018

I want to see Yoka vs Joyce.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
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