Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he will not be “drained” by criticism and has called on the public to support him as a “person” rather than a boxer.
Negotiations with Wilder have been going on since Joshua beat Carlos Takam 11 months ago but, in a recent interview, promoter Eddie Hearn said British heavyweight Dillian Whyte was probably favourite to be the opponent on 13 April because of his impressive form and the fact a deal would be easier to make.
But Joshua must first deal with the threat of Povetkin in front of around 80,000 fans at the national stadium. Hearn himself has said he is “nervous” about an opponent who is arguably overlooked by the public while those involved in the sport know he brings experience, pedigree and threat.
The 39-year-old challenger – twice convicted of doping – has only been beaten once in his 35-fight career, and that loss was to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.
Joshua rates the 2004 Olympic gold medallist as his third-toughest challenge as a professional, behind his own win over Klitschko and his last outing, a points win over Joseph Parker.