Nigeria-born British boxer Anthony Joshua has insisted that he “would rather lose than be classed a drugs cheat” as the boxing champion look set to face Alexander Povetkin.
Joshua believes he would have been banned from boxing for life had he failed drugs tests like the Russian with whom he must share a ring at Wembley Stadium on September 22.
“I would rather take a loss than be done for doping; being done for doping is far worse for your legacy than taking a loss,” said Joshua.
‘Drugs don’t make you a better fighter. I prefer to work hard and stay clean and do the best I can in every fight.’
Povetkin lost big money when world title fights against Deontay Wilder and Bermaine Stiverne were called off after he failed drugs tests, one for meldonium which led to tennis suspending his fellow Russian Maria Sharapova.
Joshua says: ‘It was unfortunate for his opponents at the time but at least I know he will be fighting clean against me.’
Povetkin believes accusations are pointed at sportsmen from his country carte blanche: “I don’t think that our sportsman in Russia consume all those things [drugs] they are accused of.
As an amateur, I understood what we were taking, and I can assure you there was nothing prohibited. Never was there anything out of the ordinary either for myself or the team that was offered to us, or discussed.”
Both Joshua and Povetkin have signed up for independent testing ahead of the championship bout in September.