Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says this weekend’s fight between his fighter, Anthony Joshua, and challenger Alexander Povetkin is a big deal for the Russians. Hearn tells The Guardian that Povetkin has the backing of Vladimir Putin’s regime and they would love to stick it to the British given the chance.
“Povetkin has got not just his team but the country and, dare I say, [Putin’s] government behind him,” said Hearn. “They are all involved. This is like a mission from them to beat Britain and for a Russian to become the world heavyweight champion.
“He and his team know how important this is for them and for Povetkin nationally. This is not just about him personally winning a title, this is a major, major thing if he could stick one on a Brit.”
Despite that proclamation, Hearn says he just thinks it adds a little extra spice to this weekend’s fight and that he has no concerns regarding Povetkin doping, considering his past drug violations. Hearn estimates that Povetkin has been tested by VADA at least five or six times and they’ve all come back clean.
Povetkin, 39, enters this fight off a knockout win over David Price in March. He’s won eight straight since dropping a decision to Wladimir Klitschko on 2013. And Joshua comes into this fight off a title unification win over Joseph Parker, also in March. Joshua is just now one title away from being the undisputed heavyweight champion, with Deontay Wilder holding the WBC title.