When Wladimir Klitschko walked into the ring against Anthony Joshua, the former Champion was booed and heckled; an English crowd, who naturally, adored his opponent – Anthony Joshua.
However, it was only just 18 months before where many English fans were cheering/wanting the Ukrainian to defeat English rival, Tyson Fury. November 2015 in Germany, he wasn’t such the villain he was at Wembley.
Wladimir, rightly so, had his fanbase; the respect from boxing fans in the build up to that Fury fight. But, following his shock defeat in 12 rounds, it seems that his whole record and achievements in boxing had been forgotten.
Sports fans can be fickle, but it appears they can also forget about a man holding the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts for years on end; forget about the 64 wins from 68 fights – before the Joshua fight – as they jeered a man who has done so much for the sport:
“When I appeared at Wembley Stadium on April 29, I was booed by the majority of the spectators.”
— Wladimir Klitschko
It’s to be expected that the crowd – and general boxing fans – would favour the current poster boy of boxing, Joshua. The man has an uncanny way of winning non-boxing supporters over; winning all sorts of personalities over with his charismatic, laid back, and general charming approach.
But, it’s got to the point where this charm has caused fans to lose sight of the original suave champion; the original boxer who fans were head over heels for.
Klitschko clearly felt this loss of love, as it took 11 rounds with AJ to win some respect back; win back something that should have never gone:
“I never thought I would say such a thing, but: in defeat, I achieved much greater success than I would have had I won. Fans and sports enthusiasts worldwide are celebrating my performance and showing me their appreciation. Even my opponent expressed his respect for me.”
“It took a while for me to get over not winning in the ring. Yet I immediately experienced an increase in recognition and respect”
— Wladimir Klitschko
The heavyweight champion’s recognition and reputation should know no boundaries, and it was heavily damaged after the Tyson Fury loss. We’ll see if AJ can repeat what Klitschko achieved in the sport, and if he does, it will be interesting to see if boxing fans forget the Englishman at the drop of a hat in 10 years.
You can see the whole of Klitschko’s message on LinkedIn.