With no plans to fight WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in the fall, Anthony Joshua is moving forward to fight WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
Though the fight is not yet formally announced, it is expected that Joshua and Povetkin will fight for Joshua’s WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles most likely on September 22 at Wembley Stadium. One of the key factors in putting together a title fight with Povetkin involved is the drug testing, given Povetkin’s past of testing positive for banned substances.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, told Boxing News that VADA will handle drug testing for the fight.
“He’s already signed to the VADA testing. There is something that we do for every fight, for every opponent from 16 weeks out, which is we pay 50 grand for additional VADA testing. So that was done for Klitschko, that was done for [Joseph] Parker... So they will be testing him six, seven, eight times in addition to the program that he’s already sent out," Hearn said.
Back in 2016, Povetkin failed a drug test which canceled his mandatory title opportunity against Wilder, testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. Povetkin was then booked for a vacant WBC interim title fight towards the end of 2016 against Bermane Stiverne, but Povetkin also tested positive for ostarine, an anabolic steroid.
Povetkin was suspended but eventually cleared by all the governing bodies and was quickly put in a spot to fight for some of the top non-world title belts for the WBA and WBO. In his first fight post-suspension, Povetkin won the WBA Continental and WBO International heavyweight titles. He followed it up with a win over Christian Hammer to win the WBA Intercontinental title late last year and became the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBA title.
After knocking out David Price in the co-main event fight of Joshua’s last win over Joseph Parker this past March, the WBA issued an order to have Joshua fight Povetkin next.
If the fight does indeed take place at Wembley Stadium, it will mark Joshua's first fight in the venue since knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 in front of a record-crowd of approximately 90,000.