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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Anthony Joshua under 'tons of pressure' ahead of fight with Alexander Povetkin

Unified world heavyweight boxing champion aims to extend his unbeaten record to 22 fights on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium

Anthony Joshua, left, and Alexander Povetkin pose for photos after the press conference for their world heavyweight title fight. AFP 
Anthony Joshua, left, and Alexander Povetkin pose for photos after the press conference for their world heavyweight title fight. AFP 

Anthony Joshua acknowledged on Thursday that he does feel the weight of expectations as the world heavyweight boxing champion prepares to put his belts on the line against Alexander Povetkin on Saturday night.

Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO title holder, takes on Russian former world champion - and fellow Olympic gold medallist - Povetkin at Wembley Stadium aiming to extend his unbeaten professional record to 22 fights.

A turn-out of up to 90,000 fans is expected inside England's national football stadium, the vast majority of whom will be cheering for, and expecting, another Joshua victory.

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Speaking at a pre-fight press conference, Joshua said he regards Povetkin as one of the toughest challenges of his career, more so than the likes of Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker.

"There's loads of pressure, tons of pressure, it's the reality," Joshua, 28, said. "We both know what we are in for, its the same with every fight.

"Roll with the punches, what more can I do than give my best. I'll go out there and find a way to win. I know I have a lot of fire in my belly, that's just as important as skills."

Given the threat Povetkin poses to Joshua's titles and unbeaten record, the Briton left no stone unturned during his training camp for a fighter who has suffered just one defeat in his 35-fight career.

"Skills and technique apart, we both have a big heart and can dig deep. We both showed that against Klitschko," Joshua said. "The one who's toughest will come out victorious.

"He's one of the lightest heavyweights but that means he has speed. I spar cruiserweights like Lawrence Okolie who is fast and sharp.

"His strengths? I work alongside people who have the same strengths."

Povetkin, 39, refused to offer any bold predictions during the press conference, but the Russian has warned that he is in peak condition ahead of fight night.

"The fight will show everything," he said. "Anthony is a very strong fighter but I am just as strong. When I fought Klitschko, I was much weaker and in worse shape than I am now.

"I never try to say anything ahead of time, you will see everything on fight night."