By Luke Furman
Olympic gold medal winner Alexander Povetkin has completed the first stage of preparation for the mandatory fight against WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO world champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs).
The fight between Povetkin, who is a mandatory challenger under the World Boxing Association, and Joshua, will take place on September 22 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Back in March, Povetkin pulled off a vicious knockout of Olympic bronze medal winner David Price. In the main event of that card, which took place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Joshua won a twelve round decision over Joseph Parker in a four belt unification.
Povetkin's trainer is giving his boxer a very high probability to unseat Joshua for his world titles.
"The first stage of preparation for the fight with Joshua has ended, the training was good, and we are satisfied with the work that was done. The goals have been achieved, Alexander is a real professional. He understands the seriousness and importance of the upcoming battle, therefore, we worked very responsibly, and I am very pleased with the results of this camp," said the coach of Povetkin, Ivan Kirpa.
Now Povetkin, together with the team, returns to Moscow and after a short rest he will start the next stage of the preparation.
This marks Povetkin's first crack at a world title since losing a twelve round decision, his only career defeat, to Wladmir Klitschko in 2013.
Povetkin was scheduled to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder in May of 2016, but the contest fell apart after the Russian boxer tested positive for a banned substance. In the fall of the same year, he was set to fight Bermane Stiverne for the WBA's interim belt, but that contest also fell apart after Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance.
Both Povetkin and Joshua are being thoroughly tested for PEDs as part of the agreement for their upcoming fight.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org