By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Alexander Povetkin isn’t the least bit concerned about boxing Anthony Joshua at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
In fact, the Russian contender will feel more comfortable challenging Joshua on Joshua’s home turf than if their fight were to take place in Russia.
The biggest bout of Povetkin’s career, a unanimous-decision defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in a heavyweight title unification fight, was staged in Moscow in October 2013. The former WBA heavyweight champion learned from that experience and other appearances in his native country that sometimes it’s better to fight away from all the pressure and stress that come with those types of fights.
“I’m a little more pressured when I fight in Russia,” Povetkin told BoxingScene.com through a translator Tuesday after a DAZN press conference in Manhattan. “I feel like I’m a little looser when I fight outside the country. In Russia, there a lot of people, so there’s a lot of pressure because a lot of people are rooting for you.”
Nine of Povetkin’s past 10 fights have occurred in Russia.
The 38-year-old contender’s last fight, a fifth-round knockout of England’s David Price (22-5, 18 KOs), was part of the Joshua-Joseph Parker undercard March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. A capacity crowd in excess of 75,000 attended that card.
The crowd could exceed 90,000 for the Joshua-Povetkin fight September 22 at Wembley Stadium, where a similar crowd assembled for Joshua’s career-changing stoppage of Klitschko in April 2017. Almost all of those fans will gather to root for the 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), who has become Britain’s biggest boxing star.
That’s fine by Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBA title.
“I feel totally comfortable fighting him there,” Povetkin said. “No problem. I actually like to fight somewhere else better, because at home the walls kind of push on you. Out there, I’m more motivated.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.