Sorry Anthony Joshua fans, but Wladimir Klitschko will reclaim his titles on April 29th in front of 90,000 people at Wembley. There are numerous reasons why the Ukrainian will retake his throne as the Heavyweight World Champion with Joshua’s IBF and the vacant IBO and WBA ‘Super’ belt all up for grabs.
Many have written Wlad off for the fact that he’s coming into this off the back of a loss. On the contrary, that will only make this a tougher fight for Joshua. If you hadn’t realised already, Klitschko is dead set on regaining his titles and making history.
He has explicitly laid out his plans to regain what is his. Not only to have the majority of his titles back, but also to prove the doubters wrong. “That’s my passion, that’s my obsession and I want to show myself that I’ve still got it.” What’s more is the desire he holds to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion. No mean feat in itself. Especially when you’re attempting to bounce back after losing the titles after almost a decade holding them.
— Klitschko (@Klitschko) 8 April 2017
Whilst many have discredited Klitschko as the superior force, citing his loss to Tyson Fury as a fall from grace, you can expect to see the best version of Klitschko we’ve seen for years at Wembley on April 29th. That much is for sure. It will be a role reversal. Wlad is now the one doing the taunting and going in with nothing to lose, other than proving people wrong. Much like this made Fury dangerous going into the fight, it will now be Klitschko representing that dangerous unknown quantity for Joshua. Fury was a bum, now Klitschko is washed up – we have gone full circle here now. When in reality, Fury is the best Heavyweight in the division and Klitschko is anything but washed up.
Brain vs Brawn
Make no mistake about it, Wlad is unlike any of Joshua’s previous opponents. Where Joshua’s build has been a hurdle for the majority of his opponents to date, it won’t be for Klitschko. Whilst Joshua obviously has a greater muscle mass to his frame, their frames are very similar. Klitschko won’t be able to be bullied in the way Joshua has done to his previous opponents. If anything, he’ll feebly taunt Joshua by saying he can be become a crossfit champion. Okay, so he still isn’t great at trash talking…
As mentioned Wlad has recently been taunting Joshua over his built up physique, and, whilst many see it as the lamest trash talking going – there’s method to the madness. For starters, Joshua hasn’t been into the later rounds. Secondly, how will Joshua’s body cope with the exertion of going into the later rounds? The oxygen and energy taken to power his body will undoubtedly see him slow down if it does indeed go the distance. Klitschko, again, nabbing the advantage here as he has been the distance his fair share of times.
Something that Klitschko failed to utilise to his advantage last time out was his jab. It sets him up for the whole fight. He’ll either walk all over you with a jab-and-grab style, boring enough. But, the jab also sets him up for his big back hand punch. Joshua hasn’t really ever had to establish his jab in any of his fights, so it will be intriguing to see how he deals with that and whether he carries on with what he has always done, or, if he tries to out jab Klitschko.
A lot has been made of punching power. Yes, Anthony Joshua has KO’d all of his previous opponents, but who has his best opponent been? Dominic Breazeale. Due to his efficiency on his jab, people are very quick to forget that Klitschko has KO’d 53 out of his 68 opponents. Not too bad for an old washed up man is it?
— .THE FIGHT GURU. (@TheFightGuru) April 6, 2017
Teacher Vs Pupil
Having sparred together some years back, Klitschko has already taken the senior role between the two in their press conferences. With that seniority comes the main factor over Joshua; experience. Klitschko is used to selling out football stadiums, granted, in Germany, but he’s used to the big occasions.
Klitschko has had over 20 championship defences, holding those titles for close to a decade unchallenged. Will he be overawed by the occasion? No chance. He has been booed into the ring in fights before, and fully expects that reception on April 29th. But will he be leaving the ring to cheers?
Klitschko is ring savvy, something Joshua has not encountered at all in the ring. Unless you count taking the easy route out of just staying down *ahem* Charles Martin *ahem*. The only person who can claim to have riled Joshua is Dillian Whyte. Whyte got to Joshua both in and out of the ring, and, even the most critical of fans must agree Klitschko is levels above Whyte.
Old Dog, New Tricks
In the build up to the fight many have touched on a difference in Klitshcko. The hiding of sparring from the press, the lack of access, the way he’s coming across and some tell-tale signs that Klitschko is edgy, whilst confident beyond belief. Why wouldn’t he be?
Look at Joshua completely impartially. What does he do? He has a good straight right and has the power to KO anyone. What else? Head movement? No. Footwork? Nothing special. Angles? Nope. Jab? No. These things haven’t been exposed because Joshua hasn’t been tested. He could easily posses all of those traits, but for him to now bring a whole performance together against one of the best Heavyweight’s of this era will be very tough.
Klitschko will undoubtedly be working on imposing himself on Joshua and looking to exploit those elements of Joshua. If he struggles to move his head, it’s very likely that Klitschko could ease through the fight on his jab alone.
A 27-year-old who has KO’d each of his 18 opponents. A reinvigorated 41-year-old with 53 KO’s looking to prove to himself he is still the best. Klitschko’s only obstacle is himself. Can he put the accolades to the side, the belts, the thought of joining a select group of three-time World Heavyweight Champions? If you’ve read or listened to anything from him during the build up, you’ll know he already has done so. As always though, the person who has put it best, is Wladimir Klitschko; “AJ needs me and I need AJ.”