‘I am No. 1’: Anthony Joshua warns rivals Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder

Joshua fights Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on 22 September

Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin boxing
Anthony Joshua trains ahead of his world title fight against Alexander Povetkin on 22 September
(Image credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin

  • What: WBA, IBF & WBO heavyweight title fight
  • Where: Wembley Stadium, London
  • When: Saturday 22 September
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports Box Office

Anthony Joshua acknowledges that his heavyweight boxing rivals are out to “take his head off” but the British star is defiant that he is the division’s No. 1.

On Saturday 22 September, Joshua defends his three world champion belts at Wembley Stadium against Alexander Povetkin, and the 28-year-old revealed he has taken on extra sparring sessions in preparing to face the Russian.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Joshua, who is undefeated in 21 fights, told Sky Sports: “People aren’t coming to give me rounds anymore. They don’t say: ‘what do you want me to do?’

“No. They’re coming to take my head off because I’m the hunted. I’ve become the hunted and I’m well aware of that, and it’s made me up my game. This is the reality I live in.”

Joshua’s two biggest rivals in the heavyweight division are fellow Brit Tyson Fury and American Deontay Wilder.

Fury and WBC champion Wilder have agreed to fight, and the BBC reports that an announcement on the date is “imminent”. The Daily Telegraph adds that the Fury vs. Wilder bout is expected to take place in Las Vegas in early December.

‘I will prove myself’

Since returning to the ring, Fury has regularly taunted his British rival by saying he is the “lineal” champion, but Joshua “scoffed at the words”, says the Telegraph.

“No. I am No. 1,” said Joshua. “I ain’t got to show anything. History will tell you. History is all that matters. I will prove myself. Ever since the amateurs, non-stop I have been on top of my game.

“I was watching a Wladimir Klitschko fight the other day and he had time to learn. I’ve been in at the deep end time and again. If people aren’t satisfied with it now, they never will be.

“Look at Floyd Mayweather. They are never happy with him and he is one of the greatest of all time. They said the same of Lennox Lewis, now he is looked back on as a slick operator.”

Power struggle

Following the Povetkin bout this month, Joshua also has 13 April 2019 booked for Wembley, where he could face Fury or Wilder.

“God willing, I beat Povetkin, and hopefully me fighting [the winner of Fury-Wilder] is quite straightforward,” said Joshua.

“At the moment, it is like a power struggle in the heavyweight division. Good luck to Fury, Wilder and myself. But when all’s said and done, I won’t be that geezer in the pub telling war stories about ‘I was the lineal champ’. I am not that type of geezer. I am focused on my own career and where I am going.”

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.