Wembley Stadium may not get its Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder superfight on September 22, but in Wilder's place is Joshua's mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
Although it had been heavily reported for weeks that Joshua would fight Povetkin if a fight against Wilder for September does not happen, it wasn't until July 16 in which the fight was formally announced. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn posted on Twitter that the fight will take place in Wembley with the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles on the line.
Joshua and Wilder were deep in negotiations, but were unable to finalize a fight deal. In late June, the WBA, who ordered Joshua to fight Povetkin back in April, gave the unified champion 24 hours to agree to a deal against Povetkin. It took a couple of more weeks, but the fight was finally announced.
The fight will be the first of two bouts at Wembley for Joshua, who last fought at the venue in 2017 when he stopped Wladimir Klitschko to add the WBA title to the IBF belt he won in 2016. The fight against Klitschko broke the all-time British boxing attendance record with approximately 90,000 people in attendance for the bout. The September 22 fight is expected to match that attendance number with the second fight, expected to be against Wilder on April 13, 2019, to shatter that attendance figure and bring in at least 100,000 fans in attendance.
Povetkin earned the right to fight Joshua by winning a title eliminator last year in Povetkin's second fight after serving a drug suspension. Povetkin holds the WBA Intercontinental and WBO International titles, winning his last eight fights since losing to Klitschko for the unified WBA, WBO and IBF titles in 2013.
Joshua is coming off a win over Joseph Parker back in March to unify all three heavyweight titles owned by the 28-year-old Joshua. Povetkin defeated David Price in the co-main event bout of Joshua's win over Parker.