Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko Set To Meet In Heavyweight Superbout
By: Sean Crose
This April, for the first time in what seems to be a long time, a truly big heavyweight title fight will be going down. For that’s when, on the 29th of that month, IBF champ Anthony Joshua will face off against the division’s former longtime kingpin, Wladimir Klitschko. Make no mistake about it, Klitschko was nothing if not a dominant force at heavyweight for years on end. Now, though, he’s in his forties. What’s more, he lost his last bout, as well as his heavyweight crown, to the bombastic yet under-rated Tyson Fury over a year ago. Is the Ukrainian still the fighter he was? That may well be the biggest question heading into this throwdown.
For Josuha is undefeated. And, as if that weren’t enough, the man’s won each of his eighteen fights by knockout. In short, the Englishman is seen as the future of the division. Not only does he appear to have an impressive skill set, he has a statuesque physique and carries himself like a gentleman. In other words, he presents himself as the nice guy who can lay the bad boy out cold. There’s a lot of green to be found at the end of that kind of rainbow.
Yet there’s questions regarding Joshua, as well…as is can he stand the pressure of a major bout, can he deal with Klitschko’s power, and can he overcome Klitschko’s vast ring experience? To be sure, it’s the questions involved with this bout that make it so intriguing. It might be easy to write Klitschko off at this point, but that might be a mistake. Sure, Fury made him look second rate, but Fury’s bullying also got in Kltischko’s head. Joshua, on the other hand, let’s his fists do the talking for him, so mind games shouldn’t be an issue.
Promoter Eddie Hearn knows what a big deal this fight is going to be. That’s why word is already out that the match is going to sell out Wembley Stadium in London. To be sure, it’s hard to imagine a crowd showing up in April of less than 80 thousand souls. On top of all that, Dan Rafael of ESPN has tweeted that HBO and Showtime might be in a bidding war for the American television rights to the bout. When’s the last time you heard of anything like that happening?
Although Joshua-Klitschko is a thoroughly European affair between two European fighters in one of the continent’s great cities, this is a fight that should resonate here in America. For here are two of the best men in boxing’s big division, battling for dominance. Sure, there may be other heavyweight champions now, but everyone knows that the winner of this one will reign supreme over the division. Speaking of which, the former premiere weight class of the sport is looking very exciting lately, thanks very much.
This weekend alone showed terrific bouts between the likes of Dillian White and Dereck Chisora, as well as the likes of Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz. It’s also good to keep in mind that American Deontay Wilder is swimming close to shore like a shark and that his countryman Shannon Briggs may be far from the joke some may wish he was. And then there’s Mr. Fury. Who knows what the former champ may bring to the table in the future, should he successfully slay his demons?
Things have gotten interesting.