Unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua will face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in a fight taking place on September 22nd at Wembley Stadium in London.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn made the official announcement on Monday.
Hearn had been in talks with the camp of world titleholder Deontay Wilder for a fall fight to produce an undisputed world champion, but elected to go with Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs), 38, in an interesting risk as Povetkin could ruin a potential mega-fight between Wilder and Joshua, one that boxing needs.
Wilder has agreed to a flat fee of $15 million rather than a percentage split, and also agreed to fight Joshua in his home country of the United Kingdom, according to ESPN’s Daniel Rafael.
Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), 28, will be making his sixth title defense.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring; the end of March feels a long time ago now,” Joshua said in a news release. “Povetkin is a serious challenge that I will prepare meticulously for. He has serious pedigree, and only a fool would underestimate what he brings to the table.
“Training hasn’t stopped for me, but the next 10 weeks ahead will be intense both mentally and physically. I will push myself to breaking point to make sure I am in peak condition for another huge night for British boxing at Wembley Stadium.”
“The battle for the world title has always been my goal,” Povetkin said in a news release. “I fought for the moment to face the strongest in the world, and on Sept. 22, I get my opportunity. Anthony Joshua has [three major] belts, and I want them all. I’m glad that our fight will finally take place. The meeting of two Olympic champions in the ring is destined to be a breathtaking event.”
“I can’t wait to return to Wembley on Sept. 22 for what I believe will be one of the biggest tests of AJ’s career,” Hearn said. “Last time he was there he produced one of the most dramatic fights and endings in the history of the sport, and I expect this fight to be full of energy and drama. Povetkin is a top-three heavyweight and extremely dangerous, but in AJ I see the best heavyweight in the world today and I think we will see a major statement.
“It will be another huge night for British boxing with major championship fights on the card and another one of those special nights and atmospheres that will be watched by millions all around the world.”