Joshua Vs Klitschko – A Look Ahead

By James McHugh


Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko go toe-to-toe in the ring next week in one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the decade if not century. Considering we are a week away from the most significant fight that’s took place on these shores in recent years, Anthony Joshua seems calm and content with his preparations.

The fight is estimated to generate nearly fifty million pounds and could change the landscape of boxing for a long, long time.

There’s a mutual respect between AJ and Wladimir Klitschko, this was clearly evident in one of the less memorable episodes of “Gloves Are Off”. Many fans were left disapointed at the lack of mind games and insults but in recent weeks jibes have been sent via Twitter, mainly by the Klitschko camp, yet Joshua remains as relaxed as he was back in 2007 when he first walked into the Finchley Amateur Boxing Club as 17 year old novice.

Klitschko, 41-years-young and one victory away from joining Muhammad Ali as a three-time heavyweight champion, insists he is “obsessed” with overthrowing his younger opponent but Joshua believes his rival’s emotion is a by-product of four career defeats.

Some of the casual boxing fans out there may not be aware but Joshua has lost before, but never as a professional. Something which he regards as a wholly different entity to his amateur career.

Having amassed 18 professional victories and claiming the IBF Heavyweight title, as well as  Olympic gold, Joshua is not only full of confidence but he cant relate to Klitschko’s “obsession”. This is a man with one goal in mind, to correct the flaws that resulted in the loss of his titles to Tyson Fury 17 months ago.

It will be a toxic cocktail for one man; Joshua, brimming with the confidence of an athlete with a spotless record, could be inspired to steam through his 19th opponent. But Klitschko, remembering too well what defeat tastes like, might be better equipped than ever to avoid another loss.

“I honestly asked myself ‘do I really like what I do?'” Klitschko has admitted. “And I said ‘no Wlad, I actually love what I do’.”

Soul-searching might enable Klitschko to re-find his younger self in next weekend’s fight, but it hasn’t been necessary for Joshua.

Fury’s unanimnous decision made him the first man to outpoint Klitschko, in his 20 year, 68-fight career. A true icon of the sport but Tyson was barely hit with a punch over the course of 12 rounds that night, Klitschko looked slow, tired and as though father time had caught up with him.

Joshua is the most exciting prospect in world boxing, arguably the most marketable athlete in the world and he can certainly fight. He hasn’t put a foot wrong during 18 brief appearances and next week he could take step one to becoming one of the wealthiest boxers in history. Wladimir has been the dominant force for so long and could easily have enough left to beat Joshua.

It is, make no mistake, a brilliant fight for UK and heavyweight boxing, a division that has been in much need of reigniting for well over a decade, lets hope it lives up to expectations.