Looking Ahead To Anthony Joshua Vs. Wladimir Klitschko
The boxing event of the year is now just a couple of weeks away as Anthony Joshua prepares to take on the great Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium.
With the fight scheduled for 29th April in front of 90,000 boxing fans in London, both fighters are deep into their preparation for what promises to be one of the most watchable fights of 2017.
Joshua has long been touted as a future legend of the sport and the vacant WBA is belt up for grabs, while Klitschko is aiming to become world champion for the third time in his long career.
At the age of 27, Joshua is a massive 14 years younger than the experienced Ukrainian, who has not entered the ring since suffering a shock defeat to Joshua’s fellow British boxer Tyson Fury.
Fury’s defeat of Klitschko at the Esprit Arena in Germany was the 41-year-old’s first loss since 2004 and if he beats Joshua, he will be the second-oldest boxer ever to become world champion.
Joshua is the favourite with the bookmakers (4/9 to win), but how are the fighters shaping up for this clash of the titans?
Joshua has won all 18 of his fights to date by knockout, so it is no wonder the Briton has been made the favourite, especially as Klitschko may be rusty after a long break from boxing.
But Joshua has never had to go beyond the seventh round of a bout, with his extraordinary power ending fights early. Klitschko’s ring expertise could force Joshua to reach new heights.
Joshua insists his previous preparation has been with fights against boxers of Klitschko’s quality, so he should not be daunted by an undoubted step up in class.
While Joshua’s record is extremely impressive, it is fair to say that he has not yet been in the ring with an elite fighter and certainly not one of the class of Klitschko.
Defeat to Fury was a rare setback for Klitschko, who along with his brother Vitali has dominated the heavyweight division for more than a decade.
Klitschko says he is still improving as a boxer despite his advanced age, with the fighter insisting going toe-to-toe with a young fighter like Joshua will help him to go on to a new level.
Experience is certainly where Klitschko has the edge over his rival. While Joshua has only fought 18 times, going through just 44 rounds in those bouts, this will be Klitschko’s 68th fight.
He has collected 64 wins over the course of his glittering career, with 53 of those victories coming via knockout, and he has only been beaten four times to date.
With 358 rounds under his belt, Klitschko has far more experience than Joshua, who might well have to go through his longest ever fight if he is to win on the night.
Joshua has often spoken of his desire to write his name into the boxing history books and a fight against Klitschko certainly provides the opportunity to do just that.
With 90,000 people expected to fill Wembley Stadium for the fight, it will break box office records. The bout will be the biggest to have been held in London since George Groves took on Carl Froch in 2014, on a night when 2012 Olympic champion Joshua blitzed Matt Legg in just 86 seconds to announce himself to the world.
Favourite Joshua has won all of his fights by knockout, and odds are around the 8/11 mark for the Briton to maintain that amazing run with a victory by KO, TKO or disqualification appeal.
Those who are backing Klitschko to show his class and bounce back from that loss to Fury could be tempted by the 13/2 that is widely available for the Ukrainian to take the title on points.
Team GB Olympians Lawrence Okolie, Joe Cordina and Josh Kelly are all set to fight on the night as well, while Scott Quigg will be facing Viorel Simion at featherweight in another massive match, so even the Joshua v Klitschko undercard promises to be unmissable.
Joshua will be hoping that the bout is remembered as the night he became a boxing great, while for Klitschko facing the brilliant Brit is a chance to remind us of his own legend.