It seems like an age since this fight was agreed but, at last, we’re finally here. The biggest, the richest and possibly the most eagerly anticipated fight ever seen on these shores. It’s Anthony Joshua, the world champion, the knockout sensation from Watford against Wladimir Klitschko, the former world champion and boxing great from Ukraine.
Will it be another huge step on the road to greatness for Joshua? Or will it be the restoration of a legend back at the top of the game where he believes he belongs? So many questions but they will all be answered tomorrow night in front of an incredible 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium.
It’s strange but when the fight was first announced, I immediately said Joshua to win inside 5 rounds. All I could think of was Joshua’s explosive journey through the heavyweight ranks and then allied that to Klitschko’s poor performance, last time out, against Tyson Fury.
As fight time has approached, I’ve begun to temper my view and now believe we are in for a very intriguing fight. The key to it for me is Klitschko. He’s 41 years old has fought 68 times. He has had 28 world title fights and is rightly ranked amongst the greatest heavyweight champions in the history of the game.
His defeat against Fury will have shaken him to the core. You have to give Fury credit but Klitschko was awful that night. The question is was that the beginning of the end for him? Can he recapture his old self? Klitschko has never been the most explosive or exciting fighter but the one thing he does have is a boxing brain. At his best, he’s a very strategic and cagey fighter who rarely takes risks. He has an excellent jab and can hit hard. He knows when to spoil and when to let his hands go. These are all tools that can give Joshua a very difficult night.
I think Klitschko really wants this fight. He’s really up for this and wants his titles back. He has an enormous ego and is a very proud man. Klitschko desperately wants that pride restored on Saturday night. I believe he will use his jab to try to keep Joshua at bay. At the first sign of Joshua getting in close he will hold. He will want to frustrate Joshua and try to stop him from getting any kind of rhythm.
I remember watching Klitschko against the dangerous Russian heavyweight, Alexander Povetkin, a couple of years ago. Povetkin was a dangerous puncher. He wasn’t as big as Joshua but boy, could he bang. All Klitschko did for the entire fight was hit and hold. He fought scared and did not want to get hit. The fight deteriorated into a farce and Klitschko won on points to a chorus of boos. Povetkin didn’t know how to handle such tactics. AJ will need to be ready for similar antics come Saturday night.
AJ is still a relative novice and despite being world champion, this will be just his 19th professional fight. He has blitzed his way through the division with 18 KO’s in his 18 fights. AJ is the face of heavyweight boxing and by far the biggest draw. Even by his own admission, he still has a lot to learn, but he is learning quickly.
The one criticism of Joshua is the fact that a lot of people say he has fought nobodies. That may be true, in terms of top-class opposition, but again he has only fought 18 times in the pro ranks. He can only beat what is put in front of him. Klitschko is, by far, his biggest test to date but he wanted the fight. Furthermore, he believes he is ready for such a test.
For me, this will be more of a test of Joshua’s mind as opposed to the physical threat Klitschko poses. The Ukrainian can hit but I don’t see him knocking Joshua out. There’s only going to be one winner if it was to become a slugfest. Klitschko will have to fight smart. Joshua will have to think his way through this one. It will be difficult for him to connect flush on Klitschko’s chin. AJ and his corner will have to work things out.
Klitschko will look to get AJ past halfway and hope frustration and tiredness kick in. Remember Joshua has never been past seven rounds. It would be interesting to see how he fares if proceedings go that far.
I do think that Joshua will win. It’s certainly not going to be easy. Klitschko will have a point to prove. However, the younger man will be too powerful, too quick and I believe he will catch up with Klitschko by round 8 and take him out.
This isn’t just a boxing match, this is an event. An historic event! 90,000 people to see some boxing. Wow! I honestly cannot wait. I’ve got odds of 16/1 on Joshua in 8. I’m off down the bookies to lay some money on as we speak. Wish me luck!
See you on the other side.