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Anthony Joshua: Povetkin’s the real deal

Cross fire: Joshua
trains in Sheffield
yesterday as he
prepares to defend
his world titles

ANTHONY JOSHUA is not looking past the threat of Alexander Povetkin after admitting it just takes a single punch to change everything.

Joshua will put his unbeaten record and WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles on the line next Saturday at Wembley Stadium against a mandatory challenger who has only lost once in 35 professional contests.

While the lure of potentially career-defining bouts against WBC king Deontay Wilder and compatriot Tyson Fury have grabbed his attention, the Englishman knows it would be unwise to take his challenge lightly.

Povetkin, who like Joshua has won Olympic gold, will give away four inches in height and seven more in reach, which the British boxer believes may pose problems.

‘This isn’t a stepping stone. This is a proper fight,’ said Joshua. ‘One punch can change the course of history.

‘Povetkin knows what he’s doing. He’s a top-five heavyweight, I’d say. I have seen guys like Povetkin, they’re difficult, they’re strong fighters, so I’ve got to be smart.

‘He’s fought guys like me all his life, my size isn’t new to him. But I fight taller guys a lot of the time because the heavyweight division breeds a lot of big guys. I don’t really fight guys with his height that much, so I’m having to adapt my style, he’s not having to adapt his style.

‘He’s been fighting guys my height for so many years, so it will be easier for him, harder for me.’

Joshua does not feel defeat for either Wilder or Fury when they face each other at the end of the year will derail their chances of facing him.

He added: ‘They’re big fights. Wilder, Fury, Dillian (Whyte), (Luis) Ortiz, (Jarrell) Miller. I’m looking forward to all of them. I have to take them on.

‘If one of them lose, it doesn’t define their career. They’ll bounce back and fight me, and it could be one of the great fights everyone remembers.’