The Briton is being backed to beat his controversial upcoming opponent
Tony Bellew says Anthony Joshua will “absolutely obliterate” Alexander Povetkin – if the Russian is not on performance-enhancing drugs.
Britain’s heavyweight superstar Joshua has been ordered by the WBA to sign for a mandatory title defence against Povetkin or be stripped of his belt.
Povetkin is a controversial figure in boxing. He has only suffered one defeat in his career, to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, but has had two well documented failed drugs tests.
“Povetkin is a different man when he’s on drugs and I say this because I know sparring partners who have been in his camp,” said Bellew
“They have openly said to me, ‘he’s a ferocious animal, when he’s on drugs’ but they see and feel the difference sparring him when he isn’t on them.”
“He’s a completely different man when he’s on drugs.
“I have no problem saying, I would absolutely annihilate Povetkin if he wasn’t on drugs. But if he’s on drugs I haven’t got a hope. That’s the harsh reality.”
“Joshua has proved he can navigate his way through a 12-round fight without any hiccups,” said Bellew, who is making his own way in the heavyweight division after twice beating David Haye.
“Anthony Joshua will resume normal service against Povetkin, return to being the guy who goes in there looking for the knockout.
“He’s the guy who goes in there and takes the gamble looking for the knockout.
“No one wants to see a 12-round match, two fighters playing chess. They turn up to see blood, guts and someone going to sleep.
“I think he’ll absolutely obliterate him. Smash him in three or four rounds at most.”
Bellew reckons Povetkin’s last fight against David Price showed how vulnerable the 38-year-old is.
He continued: “[David] Price was five seconds away from ending Povetkin. It was just that the bell saved him. He was doing a backstroke in a boxing ring, so that tells you how hard Price hits and how vulnerable Povetkin is.
“He still had a heavy leg when he came out the next round, but it didn’t work out for Price.”
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