Nigeria’s British-born boxer, Anthony Joshua has been engaged in gruelling neck strengthening training regime ahead of Saturday’s world titles defence against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at the Wembley Stadium.

According to British newspaper, Daily Mail, the exercise strengthens neck muscles and can reduce the risk of concussion.

Joshua has focused on strengthening his neck ahead of the Alexander Povetkin fight.

The WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world title holder has been documenting his strenuous training regime in the build-up to his fight against the dangerous Russian challenger and posted a video showing how he has been strengthening his neck in order to handle the power of Povetkin on social media.

Joshua shared the snippet on his Instagram of him performing a front neck bridge -also known as the wrestler’s neck bridge – as part of his gruelling training programme.

The routine – although it looks painful – is a common practice in combat sports training and is designed to condition the neck and build up strength in the muscles which in turn can reduce the risks of concussions.

Concussions occur when there is a sudden change in direction in the head but a strong neck can help transfer the force received from a blow to the head to the torso and Joshua, whose neck size is 16 inches, has been focusing on strengthening this area of his body over the past few years.

The British world champion is taking the challenge of Povetkin very seriously and alluded to his punching power – which was most recently displayed in his brutal knockout of David Price back in March on the same night Joshua defeated Joseph Parker to capture the WBO strap – after his brief open workout at York Hall this week.

Joshua said of Povetkin – who has 24 KOs from his 34 victories: ‘Povetkin has a lot of attributes and a lot of power; he has a few KOs on his record so I will have to keep on landing my punches.

‘He has a lot in his locker and I will need to shut him down early. Defend and counter is the key I think as that kind of shuts opponents down so I have just got to try and beat the fight out of him.’

Joshua had previously admitted to looking past Povetkin but has since forgot about the glitz and glamour of a potential blockbuster clash against Deontay Wilder and has focused on the first job at hand.

On Thursday he described this training camp as one of his hardest yet and hopes to reap the rewards of his exploits in the gym on Saturday night which he believes to be his biggest test since Wladimir Klitschko.

‘My body has been broken down and built up again this camp like never before,’ said the Watford-born hitman.

‘I just love to fight you know. I love fight week, I can finally taper down a bit, get my strength back.

‘There are loads of different stuff I work on, my trainer teaches me a lot of stuff of course. You know within yourself, you try and find out who you really are with different types of training strategies and stuff.

‘When I look at his weight, he is one of the lighter heavyweights, he has a lot of speed and is a quick fighter. His strengths, I have worked with people who have similar strengths as well.

‘I am not one to talk about fights, there was a lot of talk about the heavyweight division. Povetkin is one of my toughest challenges to date.

‘He is a bad-boy fighter, he knows what he is doing but that’s what you want right. He is game, he is lively. He didn’t stop against Klitschko, I have to work on Saturday to win.’


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