ANTHONY JOSHUA has vowed to “shut down” the knockout power of Alexander Povetkin.
Joshua, the WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, faces experienced Russian campaigner Povetkin at Wembley on Saturday.
The 39-year-old challenger has only been beaten once in his career, a loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, and boasts 24 knockouts from his 34 wins.
Promoter Eddie Hearn fears the fight will be the second toughest of Joshua’s career behind his epic win over Klitschko last year.
And 28-year-old Joshua is certainly not taking his opponent lightly.
The Brit said: “In the heavyweight division not only are they talented but one punch changes the course of the fight. We all know that story.
“He’s got that punching power, he’s got big knockouts on his record, so it’s down to me to handle business accordingly.
“He’s a threat with the left hook, but not only that, it’s how tough they are, how much do they want it?
“He could have the best left hook in the world but if I keep punching him and breaking him down it might stop him from doing that, so these attributes need to get shut down early.
“I’ve got to annihilate that from early on. He’s got a lot in his locker so I need to take control early.
“The last time at Wembley was against Klitschko, and I think Povetkin is the right opponent to bring that style of fight out of me. It’s all about the ‘W’.”
Hearn admitted he was “nervous” about the showdown, which will be undefeated Joshua’s 22nd professional bout.
“It’s a massive show, a massive event with the biggest star in world boxing and the best heavyweight in the world,” Hearn told Press Association Sport.
“But I’m a bit nervous because I think this is a much tougher fight than people give it credit for. Boxing fans know how big a fight this is and how tough a fight this is.
“Outside of Klitschko I think on paper this is the toughest fight of Joshua’s career so far.
“He’s expected to win. But Povetkin punches very hard, he’s got a good chin, he’s durable. I expect this to be a real test.”
Assuming Joshua comes through unscathed all eyes will be on a potential bout to unify the division against WBC title holder Deontay Wilder.
But Hearn has warned Wilder, who is set to fight Joshua’s fellow Brit Tyson Fury later this year, and his team to come back to the table or risk missing the boat.
“We want the undisputed fight, but it’s very difficult to make a fight when other teams aren’t particularly interested in talking to you,” added Hearn.
“For us it’s all about Saturday, then a WBO mandatory defence, but an undisputed fight would be allowed, it’s just a case of when we can get that done.
“My advice to Wilder’s team, if we beat Povetkin, is hurry up, because you haven’t got long.”