Anthony Joshua will return to London’s Wembley Stadium and defend his three heavyweight belts Sept. 22 against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, promoter Eddie Hearn announced Monday.
England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts) engaged in the 2017 fight of the year at Wembley when he vanquished long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko by 11th-round technical knockout.
Now, after pausing fellow unbeaten champion Deontay Wilder’s heated calls for a unification bout this year, Joshua is expected to instead launch Hearn’s new streaming service, DAZN (pronounced “The Zone”), with confirmation expected at a Tuesday news conference in New York.
The 38-year-old Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), the mandatory challenger for the World Boxing Assn. title, previously lost a title shot at Klitschko in 2013 by getting knocked down four times in a bout in Moscow. More recently, Povetkin was stopped from fighting for Wilder’s belt in Russia after submitting a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn.
Joshua has agreed to return to Wembley in April for another bout, widely expected to be against Wilder.
Wilder, meanwhile, is mulling opponents and might choose former title challenger Dominic Breazeale for a bout that could land in Los Angeles, according to an official connected to Wilder.