Anthony Joshua had a chance to fight Deontay Wilder this summer but he heeded some business advice from his promoter, opting to let a Wilder bout “marinate” to generate anticipation.
Joshua (21-0, 20 knockouts), a three-belt heavyweight champion from England, meets mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) of Russia on Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium.
The Wilder fight will be next, Joshua maintains, but it waits for a 39-year-old former title challenger who was routed by long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and submitted a positive drug test to scrap a date with Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), the World Boxing Council champion from Alabama.
Negotiations are in progress to stage a Wilder fight against former champion Tyson Fury of England, with Staples Center standing as the front-runner.
“We’re all in the same division, we all have to fight,” Joshua said. “We’ll get it on as soon as the time is right. Time doesn’t wait for no man and time didn’t wait for us to get our negotiation together, so we have to keep it moving with Povetkin.
“Wilder [has] called me out and said I’ve been dodging him, but I had never heard a word from Wilder before then. I’ve ended every fight thinking I’ll fight Wilder next. If I win this fight, I’ll definitely secure a fight for Wilder. I’m going to fight him regardless, so I’m going to focus on Povetkin. Don’t be cautious, just take out Povetkin like I would any other opponent.”
Joshua, who has drawn nearly 250,000 people combined to his last three fights, can deservedly lean on his A list status and dictate his opponent list.
“When I turned professional, Wilder and Fury were five years ahead of me, so I looked to those guys and thought, ‘What are they up to in their career?’” Joshua said. “Now I’m on my journey. I’ve surpassed what they’ve done. I’ve set a new level of what should be done in the heavyweight division.
“Everyone knows the heavyweight division could be one punch that can change the course of history. So that’s what keeps my eyes on the prize. One foot wrong and you’re at the start of the pecking order again.”
Joshua said he expects victories for himself and Wilder.
“Everything goes on as planned, I would look to fight Wilder at Wembley in 2019,” he said.
The Joshua-Povetkin fight will be broadcast by new sports streaming service DAZN [pronounced “da zone”] beginning at 10 a.m. PDT, with Joshua expected in the ring by 2 p.m..
DAZN will ultimately cost subscribers $9.99 per month, but it’s starting with a free one-month trial that will include a stacked Bellator MMA card in San Jose on Saturday as well as next week’s World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight tournament final between George Groves and Callum Smith in Saudi Arabia.
“DAZN is big,” said Joshua, who previously fought on Showtime. “When I start meetings, I put trust in people. I put trust in [promoter] Eddie Hearn and my management team. Eddie told me I should get involved and sit down, hear out what’s going on. I wasn’t sold straight away, but you need to sift through everything and I found out this is a really good platform to be on. It’s new, it will take time to build, but we can’t wait to launch it.”
Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA will also stage cards on DAZN, including a Jessie Vargas fight in Chicago on Oct. 6 and World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders’ title defense against Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20.