WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in recent memory will take place at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is such a major event that Wembley Stadium is expecting a record setting crowd of 90,000 fans in attendance. It is so big that Showtime will air the fight live at 4:15 p.m. live while HBO will televise the replay at 11:00 p.m. on same day tape delay.
It’s rare to see two of the biggest broadcasters of boxing agreeing to televise the same fight.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Both boxers appear to realize the magnitude of the vent at the most recent press conference. Joshua stated, “ Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.”
Klitschko recognizes that many count him out as an old faded champion and stated, “ Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing- 27 years? Can you image that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great”.
This is a huge bout, and will help determine if Anthony Joshua is the current kingpin of the heavyweight division and the reign of Klitschko is over, or if Klitschko’s time at the top is still ongoing.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4); WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title
This bout is between the next great big thing in the heavyweight division and a man who reigned over the heavyweight division from 2000-2015.
Both Joshua and Klitschko obtained the highest accolade one could achieve as an amateur boxer. Klitschko won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the Ukraine in the super heavyweight division and Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Klitschko are very large heavyweights. Both stand at 6’6” and Joshua will have a slight one inch reach advantage, but both men have a reach of over 80”.
Klitschko’s age is his biggest liability. He’s forty one years old and is fourteen years older than Joshua. Joshua’s biggest liability is his relative lack of experience in big fights. He’s only fought eighteen times and has never faced an opponent the caliber of Klitschko.
Klitschko’s inactivity may also hurt him. He fought zero times in 2016, partially due to a calf injury, and only fought twice in 2015. Joshua on the other hand has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016.
Klitschko has been absolutely dominant the past decade and has defeated almost every big name in the heavyweight division in that time frame. He has defeated the likes of Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Sultan Ibragimov, Lamon Brewster, Calvin Brock, and Chris Byrd.
Joshua doesn’t have the extensive list of defeated contenders on his resume as Klitschko, but he has still defeated some very good opponents. He has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua has the clear edge in power as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced as a professional. Klitschko has stopped fifty three of his opponents but has been stopped three times in his career.
Klitschko’s two biggest concerns appear to be fighting a tall boxer as was evident in his fight with Tyson Fury, and fighting a hard puncher as evident in his three knockout losses.
Joshua is just as tall as Klitschko and has plenty of power.
Don’t forget Joshua will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
All signs point to Anthony Joshua winning on Saturday and ushering in a new era of heavyweight boxing.