Joshua wants to hit Povetkin early

Anthony Joshua says he will try to shut down Alexander Povetkin early when the two heavyweights meet on Saturday night.

The heavyweight champion, who will put his 21-fight unbeaten record on the line as he defends his WBA ‘super’, IBF and WBO belts against the Russian at Wembley Stadium, said it was crucial for him to lay down an early marker.

“He might have a good left hook but I have to annihilate that early. He has a lot of things in his locker so we have to shut him down early.

“In this division, not only are fighters talented but one punch can change the course of a fight, we all know that story. He has that punching power with knockouts on his record so it’s down to me to handle business accordingly.

“It’s how tough they are and how much they want it. You can have the best attributes but if you don’t want to fight then you’re not going to give it.”

Joshua added that he has increased his sparring in the build up to the fight in a bid to practice countering Povetkin’s weapons.

“It’s the usual routine with hundreds of rounds of sparring, throwing thousands of punches and having thousands thrown back at me. We’re at the business end and locked in,” Joshua told reporters on Wednesday.

“I don’t control who I’m sparring or how many rounds I do. If coach says do 200, 300 or 400 rounds, it’s what I have to complete in camp, I have to go through it mentally and push myself.

“Defend and counter, first and third, that’s the key. Starting off the combinations and finishing them off, to shut down opponents and let them get weary about what they’re doing. You’ve got to beat the fight out of them.”

The 28-year old said that he is looking forward to an entertaining battle at Wembley, but that in the end the result is all that matters.

“I put my flag there [Wembley] with (Wladimir) Klitschko, it brings out a good fight night in general, now we’re back again. Povetkin is the right opponent to bring that style of fight out of me.

“The win is the most important thing, but of course the knockouts always entertaining and boosts up the stock.”