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Live%% Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin Live Stream

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The prospect of defeat simultaneously excites and frightens Anthony Joshua, as it does most boxers. But it is different for heavyweights, where uncertainty is built into every punch, and the unbeaten four-belt world champion knows that at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night Alexander Povetkin will provide the biggest threat to his dominance since Wladimir Klitschko knocked him down in the same ring 18 months ago.

The Ukrainian had not long turned 42, at the end of a decade of hegemony shared intermittently with his older brother, Vitali. Joshua’s Russian challenger is 39 and the champion, a mere 28, acknowledges he is “the second hardest” opponent of his career after Klitschko, the only fighter to beat Povetkin. There is much at stake. Joshua, whose last four fights have been in front of 300,000 fans in the nation’s two biggest football stadiums – numbers that were unimaginable for even the sport’s most decorated champions of the past – is the No 1 individual box-office draw in the history of British sport. Nobody comes close.

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And he brings with him not only the belts sanctioned by the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO but the expectations of millions that the gilded tale of the ever-smiling Olympic champion and reformed street kid from Watford will not end just yet. Ramping up his heartbeat will be the jangling nerves he needs to deliver on those hopes.

Joshua loves a thrill, from paragliding in Brazil, to scaling seaside cliffs with Bear Grylls, to the loud roar of motorbikes. “I remember growing up around the estate,” he says, “a couple of boys had, like, little quad bikes, 50cc. It was a buzz. I like bungee jumping, going around race tracks in cars, high-speed stuff. There was the hang glider in Rio. That was baaad!

“The buzz from boxing is so different. You think about the fear of losing more. When I’m on the bike I don’t think about the fear of falling off, it’s just speed, speed, speed. In boxing it’s not, like, go, go, go. It’s, like, I don’t want to make a mistake. I don’t want to fall off. It’s weird.

“That fear of losing is always there. Sugar Ray Robinson, the best fighter of all time, lost. Sugar Ray Leonard. Marvin Hagler. Thomas Hearns. Roberto Durán, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe. What?

“People say, ‘He ain’t nothing like Riddick Bowe’. So who am I to go undefeated? But I am content with it because I know those nights of negativity don’t define me. I have lost before as an amateur and that didn’t deter me from getting where I am today.”

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin: how the fight could pan out
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He adds: “The reality is, why is the heavyweight division interesting? Because one punch can change the course of a fight. You are in there for 12 rounds. At first I thought, ‘Is Povetkin a good fight?’ Because now I am caught up in the commercial hype. But scrap all that. I’m up against one of the best fighters in the world. We’re not talking about Great Britain, this is the world. He’s a top-three fighter in the world. So I have got to be on my A game.”

And convention dictates that Joshua must wear his mask of invincibility going into battle. “I am the best in the division,” he says. “There is no doubt about it. It’s been proven. There hasn’t been a time in boxing since I’ve been an amateur that I haven’t been on top. At whatever level I was at I have always been able to get to the top.”

While the golden rule of the business is never to look beyond the next fight, the landscape is opening up for Joshua on ever widening fronts. The temptation is to reach out across the waters, to spread the word, gloss the brand, bank the cash. Best estimates suggest Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, will re-enter negotiations for a unification fight next year if he beats Tyson Fury, an intriguing contest yet to be confirmed. Dillian Whyte wants a rematch. Fury wants his showdown. And the odds are any or all of these fights will be at Wembley.

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