Anthony Joshua faces the toughest test of his career when he faces Alexander Povetkin, according to former world heavyweight champion David Haye.
The undefeated Englishman will put his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO world titles on the line against Povetkin on September 22, live on talkSPORT.
After claiming Joseph Parker’s WBO strap in March, a mooted unification bout with WBC champion Deontay Wilder failed to materialise for Joshua, who now faces his Russian foe at Wembley instead.
While many critics believe Joshua will simply walk through the 38-year-old, David Haye believes it will be a much tougher test for ‘AJ’.
In fact, the former two-weight world champion believes Povetkin will pose a much tougher test for Joshua than Wladimir Klitschko did in April 2017.
Speaking exclusively to SunSport, Haye said: “I believe Povetkin is the toughest opponent Joshua has ever had and that includes his fights with Klitschko, [Dillian] Whyte and [Joseph] Parker.
“His amateur pedigree is stronger than Joshua’s. He was Olympic, World and European Champion when representing Russia.
“He’s been boxing a lot longer than Joshua and he’s a few years older than him and a very, very solid campaigner.”
Despite some bookies offering odds as short as 1/14 on Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist was badly hurt by his much-older Ukrainian opponent in their epic battle over a year ago.
With Povetkin’s only defeat coming against a much fresher Klitschko back in his prime, 36-year-old Haye feels as though Joshua could be in for a difficult night at Wembley.
“His [Povetkin] only loss was on points to Klitschko, and that was when Klitschko, was in his prime.,” said the BetFair ambassador.
“The Klitschko that fought Joshua, in my opinion, was not as good as the Klitschko that beat Povetkin.
“That’s not to take anything away from AJ’s victory, I just know from first-hand experience how years on one’s clock has such a notable impact on the fighter you face in the ring.
“Joshua is in for a real fight against a contender who is on a long string of victories and understands what it takes to win at the top level.
“Povetkin is hungry and determined and we are going to see a barnstormer of a fight.”
David Haye spoke to the Sun through Betfair