Newsbeat

Anthony Joshua: Povetkin is 'clean of drugs for our fight'

Anthony Joshua in the ring at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield Image copyright Getty Images

Anthony Joshua says there's so much pressure on him that people put aside the fact his next boxing opponent has failed two drugs tests.

The 28-year-old will defend his world heavyweight titles against Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.

The Russian was banned for life from the sport in March 2017 after failing a second drugs test - but it was later reduced to a year.

Joshua says his rival is "clean for my fight" and that's all he's focusing on.

Image copyright Eleanor Roper
Image caption Joshua named Rob McCracken as his full-time coach in December 2016

Newsbeat went behind the scenes at Joshua's training camp in Sheffield as he prepares to fight at Wembley Stadium.

This is the home of GB Boxing and a sign reads "Welcome To The Lions' Den".

On the walls are the faces of those who've represented their country at boxing - such as Amir Khan and Audley Harrison.

It's not long before Joshua gets to work on punching the pads with his trainer Rob McCracken - the champ looks sharp and strong for the fight.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joshua won a gold medal for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics

So far, he's unbeaten in 21 professional bouts but on Saturday he'll be tested by fellow Olympic gold medallist Povetkin.

"I think because of the pressure on me, people put it aside that he's failed two drugs tests," he tells Newsbeat.

Povetkin had two boxing matches called off in 2016 after testing positive for the banned substances ostarine and meldonium.

The World Boxing Council threw him out of the sport but then reduced the ban to a year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Povetkin's last fight was against David Price in March who he knocked out in the fifth round

Talk of those failed tests has circled this fight, but Joshua says "good luck to him".

"He's proven himself clean for this fight, nothing's come up yet, he's clean for my fight and that's what I've gotta focus on."

The heavyweight world champion tells Newsbeat that he won't be as "businesslike" in his approach to his latest fight.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joshua is defending his heavyweight titles against Povetkin

Joshua won his last match against Joseph Parker in March with a points victory - rather than a knock-out.

"I'm gonna hurt him," says the boxer. "If my instinct tells me to go in and take him out, I will.

"But this is elite level boxing and I'm not going to over-excel myself because any mistake could change history."

Many of Joshua's team are at the training session, including his promoter Eddie Hearn.

He tells Newsbeat the boxer has had around "eight or nine blood tests" in the run up to this fight to check he's clean of drugs.

Eddie says there are many fighters who've taken supplements without knowing they were on the banned list, but if a fighter has knowingly cheated then "100% they should be banned from the sport".

He believes Povetkin is clean going into this fight and that it'll be a fair bout - one he hopes Joshua will come through.

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