Klitschko retires – what next for Anthony Joshua?
By: Thomas Nicholls
Anthony Joshua’s much anticipated rematch with Wladimir Klitschko is OFF as the legendary Ukrainian has called time on a prestigious 64-fight career.
Since winning a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996, Klitschko has established himself as one of the all-time Heavyweight greats.
Retiring with an admirable record of 53 KO wins in 64 bouts, Klitschko burst onto the heavyweight scene with older brother Vitali in the mid to late 90’s, bulldozing his way through his first 24 opponents before a shock defeat against much unfancied Ross Purity in Wladimir’s hometown of Kiev in December 1998.
Amidst the renaissance for Klitschko, he captured his first world title in October 2000, beating America’s Chris Byrd via Unanimous Decision. Klitschko set his sights on unifying the division and was on course to fulfill his ambition until another shock defeat to South Africa’s Corrie Sanders. Another rebuilding process was underway yet just three fights later he was stopped once more, this time it was Lamon Brewster who had Klitschko on the canvas. A career which held such promise was in turmoil. Klitschko was at his lowest ebb.
It was back to drawing board for “Dr Steelhammer”, under the tutorship of the late Emanuel Steward and they had found the winning formula. A much lamented “Jab & Grab” style, as effectively crafted as it was uneasy on the eye, Klitschko was formidable.
By 2010, Klitschko’s resurgence had seen him capture the IBO, IBF & WBO versions of the Heavyweight crown, pummeling his way through Tony Thompson, Ruslan Chagaev and Samuel Peter in the process. Up next was WBA belt holder David Haye, Hamburg was the venue and many had tipped the Londoner to expose the vulnerability of Klitschko’s chin. For all of Haye’s promotion and promise, he failed to land a glove on the champion.
Klitschko had conquered the Heavyweight division, he would defend his four world titles against Wach, Povetkin & Pulev in spectacular fashion before being outfoxed by a gamely Tyson Fury.
As Klitschko seeked redemption and in what was his final fight, he captured the admiration of the millions that had their focus on Wembley Stadium in April 2017. Klitschko engaged in a titanic battle with “little bro” Anthony Joshua, sending the Brit to the canvas with a huge right hand in the sixth round. Joshua, with youth on his side, had showed exceptional powers of recovery and seeked and destroyed a tiring Klitschko in round 11. Klitschko, at 41, showed wonderful heart and courage to rise from the canvas twice to fight on, but his time was up.
Klitschko’s retirement spells the end of a remarkable career and of course the possibility of a rematch with Joshua, who is now seeking his next opponent.
Yesterday, the WBA ordered Anthony Joshua to defend his WBA heavyweight title against mandatory challenger, Luis Ortiz.
The governing body released a statement telling both parties they have 30 days to come to an agreement, or the fight will go to purse bids.
IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev seemed set to fight “AJ”, but the WBA had previously confirmed in January that Ortiz would face the Wembley winner.
Eddie Hearn has recently spoke of his desire to take the Joshua roadshow to the states, as a fight with Deontay Wilder gathers momentum, besides the “Bronze Bomber” there isn’t a host of stand-out candidates that have the ability to dethrone the British champ.
Other prospects that will have Joshua in their sights are of course Dillian Whyte, the winner of Parker vs Fury and Jarrell Miller – it’s hard to see Joshua being dethroned any time soon.
Joshua has the heavyweight division at his mercy, as did Klitschko for many years, the torch has been passed and Joshua is the new era.
Well, that was quick: The un-retirement of Manny Pacquiao
Well, that was quick: The un-retirement of Manny Pacquiao
By: Matthew N. Becher
On April 9th, earlier this year, Manny Pacquiao had his hand raised, for what was supposed to be the last time in a Hall of Fame caliber career, after beating Timothy Bradley for the second time in three fights. Pacquiao, who is 37 years old, announced his retirement after the fight and explained that he would be focusing on his political career and the upcoming election, where he would be running for a Senatorial seat in his native Philippines. Pacquiao summed it up by saying “I started boxing to help my family, my mother….I want to end my boxing career now, because my desire in my heart is to help my people, my country.”
Well, it seems that less than 3 months after his last fight, Pacquiao is ready to get back in the ring. According to his promoter, Bob Arum, who told The Guardian news outlet on Tuesday, the newly elected senator would like to fight again, “He now has given us the go-ahead to shop for a venue and opponent and see if we can do it on particular dates….that doesn’t interfere with his senatorial responsibilities and his ability to train.”, Arum told the Guardian.
Talks of a fight with former 4 division champion Adrian “the problem” Broner were floating around, but it seems that the rumors of Broner pricing himself out of the fight are true, according to Arum, “Broner wants more than Pacquiao…Obviously he doesn’t want the fight or just doesn’t understand the economics of this business.” This seems very ridiculous that Broner, who has never come close to making the same kind of money that Pacquiao ever has for a single fight, would ask for more, but it does sound like something that Adrien Broner would actually do.
From what we are getting from Arum is that the date will have to coincide with Pacquiao being able to take a leave of absence from his Senator duties. He will need to train mainly in the Philippines to be close to his political job and need to leave “for three weeks before the fight to complete training in the United States”.
Who and where are the big questions now. Also, Why? What does Pacquiao have left to prove? One thing is for certain though, he is still one of the top fighters in the world, based on his last performance against Bradley. He would be a heavy matchup for any fighter in the 140-147 pound divisions. With boxing looking for a new star, maybe it will just have to wait, and take back an old one for now.