Watford’s Joshua is a crossover star. The Olympic gold medallists has created a huge buzz on both sides of the Atlantic due to a potent mix of talent, charisma and intelligent promotion. However, it was clear that he was in need of a step up in opposition- Eric Molina, Joshua’s last opponent, provided little test or excitement as he spent most of the fight attempting simply to survive.
That test will come via the form of Klitschko, the cerebral and vastly experienced Ukrainian who ruled the division for the best part of a decade alongside his now retired brother Vitali. That reign came to an abrupt end however, in November 2015, as the self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury sensationally upset Wlad in Dusseldorf.
With Tyson Fury’s enforced absence away from the squared circle, this is a meeting of two of the top three heavyweights in the world. It’s a 50/50 fight and that is something which all boxing fans wish to see.
Joshua is young, exciting and explosive, but valid questions surrounding his stamina, boxing IQ and chin remain. He has never gone the full 12 rounds, can look lost if his opponents don’t wilt to that jackhammer right hand early on and rumours within boxing suggest he has been knocked out in sparring sessions. Yet the simple fact is, if he lands, he will hurt Wlad.
Despite such an illustrious career, questions also swirl around Klitschko. The man nicknamed ‘Dr Steelhammer’ will have been out of action for well over a year and will be over 40 years of age when stepping in with the 27-year-old Joshua. He looked old and gun shy against Fury. But it’s worth pointing out that he looked very good against Bryant Jennings and Kubrat Pulev in both his previous defences preceding the Fury fight. He is physically imposing, vastly experienced, never out of shape and carries serious power himself. If he lands, just like Joshua, he will do damage.
If forced to pick, I’d go for the vitality of Joshua to triumph, via a surprisingly wide points win. I believe his power aligned with Wlad’s inactivity will allow him to force the pace and be in the ascendency for most of the fight.
Hopefully then we could see Joshua meet undefeated WBC champion, Deontay Wilder. Wilder is a brash American knock out artist and a meeting for all the straps in the heavyweight division in a transatlantic showdown would smash all kinds of box office records. And then, perhaps we will see the return of Tyson Fury. Make no mistake about it… we are in for a wild few years in the heavyweight division. Enjoy!