September 21, 2018
September 21, 2018
Anthony Joshua

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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ANTHONY JOSHUA promised to take out Alexander Povetkin “to the body” after weighing in at 246 1/2lbs ahead of tomorrow night’s defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against the Russian challenger. Povetkin, 222lbs and looking elegantly meaty with bulging biceps, would appear to have trained with speed in mind.

Joshua still has some training to do, he claimed, despite being in typically pristine condition.

“I’m gonna do some training after this, shake off some cobwebs ahead of tomorrow,” Joshua said. “I’m going to be quick, I’m going to be fast. I’ll hit him to the head and take him out to the body.”

For context on today’s 246 1/2lbs mass: Joshua weighed in at 242lbs in March for his points win over Joseph Parker; 252 (his heaviest to date) before the October 2017 victory over Carlos Takam; 250 ahead of the epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko which was one pound heavier than his thrashing of Eric Molina in 2016; 243 when he stopped Dominic Breazeale, and in 2015, Dillian Whyte felt the force of Joshua’s 245lb-physique en route to being stopped in seven. Joshua’s lightest weight was way back in 2013, when he came in at 229lbs for his drubbing of Hrvoje Kisicek.

As for Povetkin, he was below his heaviest weight of 232lbs (a savage one-round beating of Mike Perez in 2015). Other noteworthy trips to the scales for Russian saw him weigh 223lbs when he outpointed Christian Hammer last year. For Povetkin’s one-sided 2013 loss to Klitschko, Povetkin tipped the scales at 225lbs which was still above his lightest weight of 219 in 2006.

Joshua’s popularity was clear long before he hit the stage at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Fans in the front row were eager to get a photograph of “AJ”. So eager in fact, some had been waiting outside the venue – which is 7.5 miles east of Saturday night’s Wembley Stadium battleground – since 7am in the hope of getting a glimpse of their hero.

Anthony Joshua

The swanky surroundings, a cooler than cool business centre a javelin’s throw from Angel underground station in London, was decorated further by punch-ball machines, stalls selling Anthony Joshua memorabilia and a photograph stand where fans queued to have selfies with the likes of Matt Macklin, Darren Barker and Paul Malignaggi. The press area was awash with journalists and broadcasters from all over the world.

Shannon Briggs, the former WBO heavyweight champion, even made the trip over. “Let’s go Champ,” he yelled as he barged to the front of the fans. Selfies followed, but no admittance. “Let the Champ in!” he begged. Security refused his request. No matter, cameras were in his face and a semblance of attention gained. For Briggs in 2018, 15 months after failing a drug test and rapidly approaching 47 years old, that should be considered a success.

“What an amazing turnout,” Joshua said. “Thank you everyone.”