Alan Hubbard ©ITG

Why is it I am not totally sold on Anthony Joshua? I mean, what’s not to like about him?

He is an amiable young man who won Olympic gold for Great Britain, is now a multi-belted undefeated world heavyweight champion, and since sorting himself out after some youthful aberrations, has become a role model for youngsters everywhere. 

He is personable, handsome and articulate.

And yet...

Somehow I still have reservations about him. Is it because I fear he is an accident waiting to happen with a chin that seems all too frequently vulnerable?

Or is it that he may be becoming too detached from the public who pay exceptionally good money to watch him perform in either huge arenas or as pay-per-viewers in their homes?

Since ascending the world throne he has become surrounded by a veritable platoon of managers, minders. publicists, mates, gofers, acolytes and other assorted hangers-on who outnumber even the entourage round Muhammad Ali in his heyday. Everyone, it seems wants a piece of his action.

He can hardly call himself as "People’s Champion" because nowadays he appears too remote from fans and public alike.

As an example, the Boxing Writers’ Club have been trying for almost two years to honour him with a lunch, as traditionally they do for all British world champions. But repeated approaches have come up against his impenetrable wall of minders.

Shame, because Joshua owes much to the publicity accorded him by the media when he was on the way up.   

Has he forgotten this?

Britain's Anthony Joshua, right, is expected to earn £20 million for his world heavyweight defence against Russia's Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in London tomorrow night ©Getty Images
Britain's Anthony Joshua, right, is expected to earn £20 million for his world heavyweight defence against Russia's Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in London tomorrow night ©Getty Images

He has charm and a certain charisma yet so far it has been insufficient to match the affection in which Frank Bruno and Henry Cooper were held.

Certainly he draws the crowds in their tens of thousands but it is arguable that the majority are simply followers of fashion. There for the occasion, a good night out at an event, as much as the fight.

Or is my reluctance to yet endorse him as one of the greatest because he and his team have so obviously ducked a unification showdown with the big-hitting World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder?

This has led to speculation that he, and his team, do not fancy his chances in such a risky match-up.

The gymnasium grapevine also has it that he is not too keen on facing Tyson Fury either, should the Mancunian mammoth who so mesmerised Wladimir Klitschko, emerge victorious when he and Wilder meet this December.

I have a feeling that when and if he is paired with either Wilder or Fury one or the other will prove to be his nemesis.

We shall see. Or maybe we won’t.

Let me make it clear that I like Joshua and believe he is a boon for boxing but he still has much to prove against decent opposition.

However, it does not seem likely that he will come a cropper in his engagement tomorrow  night, against fellow former Olympic champion Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, a contest that has proved a harder sell than most of his other five defences.

Although beaten only once in 35 bouts, when he took a brutal 12 pummelling from Klitschko,  former World Boxing Association champion Povetkin, at 39, may be dangerous early on, as Olympic bronze medallist David Price will testify, but lacks stamina, especially since he is, we hope, no longer on  the "juice"which resulted in him  failing two drugs tests, escaping with little more than token admonition thanks to friends in high places.

It must help when your Russian promoter is a billionaire oligarch who is  high on Vladimir Putin’s Christmas card list.

Russia's world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Povetkin has twice failed drugs tests during his professional career but been allowed to continue fighting ©Getty Images
Russia's world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Povetkin has twice failed drugs tests during his professional career but been allowed to continue fighting ©Getty Images

And it seems perversely apt  that a proven drugs cheat should be copping some £6 million ($7 million/€6.5 million) as a world title challenger and topping the bill at Wembley just when the World Anti-Doping Agency are lifting the ban on Russia and welcoming rogue nation hem back into global sporting competition.  

Joshua’s purse is expected be around £20 million (£26 million/€22 million), by the way. Lucky boy.

Indeed, some critics argue that Joshua is a very lucky fighter and this may be true. He seemed lucky to get a home-town decision over the Italian copper Roberto Cammarelle in the final of the London 2012 Olympics; lucky to meet and easily beat possibly the worst-ever world heavyweight champion in the hopeless Charles Martin to claim the world title, and lucky to later face a shop-soiled, 41-year-old Klitschko who still managed to upend him.

Lucky, too that because his trainer is his ex-amateur coach Robert McCracken, who supervises the GB Olympic squad, he is able to take advantage of the state-of-the-art training facilities at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, something not available to most other top pros.

But to his credit Josh has certainly helped breathe life back into British boxing.

Saturday's bout will be Joshua's sixth as a world champion and his 22nd in all.

However, even he must be looking over his shoulder at two similarly undefeated youngsters who may one day supplant him as another British heavyweight champion, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman, aged 21 and 22 respectively. With Tyson Fury also very much back in business the future in the heavyweight ranks seems a ring of roses.

It is to be hoped, though, that the eventual result between Joshua and Povetkin will be seen as fair and square, unlike the fistic heist that happened last weekend when long-standing world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin was cruelly adjudged to have lost his titles to another leniently-treated drugs cheat, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

I was not alone in making Golovkin a clear winner. He was ahead by at least three rounds on my card.

What it proved - again - was the dice are loaded against "Triple G" in Las Vegas and always will be where the dodgy beef-eating Mexican is such a cash cow.

Philip Barker will appear tomorrow