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Countdown on for Anthony Joshua’s Wembley return

World heavyweight champion will meet Alexander Povetkin on September 22.

Mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin has been confirmed as Anthony Joshua’s opponent when he returns to Wembley Stadium on September 22.

The WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion has agreed to fight Russia’s Povetkin, as ordered by the WBA, following a period of unsuccessful negotiations with WBC champion Deontay Wilder.

Joshua last fought at Wembley when memorably stopping Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. He has since twice won at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, against Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker – in October and March – and is scheduled to fight in London again early next year.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring, the end of March feels a long time ago now,” said Joshua, 28.

“Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.

“Training hasn’t stopped for me, but the next 10 weeks ahead will be intense both mentally and physically. I will push myself to breaking point to make sure I am in peak condition for another huge night for British boxing at Wembley Stadium on September 22.”

The 38-year-old Povetkin secured his status as mandatory challenger when stopping David Price on the undercard of Joshua’s points victory over Parker, who next week fights Dillian Whyte at London’s 02 Arena.

He fought for the same titles when being dropped three times while losing to Klitschko in 2013.

“The battle for the world title has always been my goal,” he said. “I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the world and on September 22 I get my opportunity. I’m glad that our fight will finally take place, the meeting of two Olympic champions in the ring is destined to be a breathtaking event.”

Joshua will be under increased scrutiny given the growing desire for him to fight Wilder, and his promoter Eddie Hearn said: “Povetkin is a top-three heavyweight and extremely dangerous but in ‘AJ’ I see the best heavyweight in the world and I think we will see a major statement.”

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