Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko Early Preview: Battle of the Big Boys
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
After seeing some of the worst heavyweight title matchups between the different alphabet paper world heavyweight champions, sportswriter Robert Brizel’s education on what makes a good heavyweight championship match was in for a surprise.
Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, 2017, at Wembley Stadium in London is perhaps the best and most sensational matchup since Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Joe Louis versus Billy Conn I, Rocky Marciano versus Ezzard Charles I, Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, and George Foreman versus Michael Moorer, and Lennox Lewis versus Hasim Rahman II.
With Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Luis Ortiz, Lucas Browne, David Haye, Gerald Washington, Tyson Fury (stripped of his titles), Hughie Fury, Adam Kownacki, Oscar Rivas and Jarrell Miller among those heavyweight names waiting in the wings for a shot at anyone, one appears gratified when the best possible matchup on the table comes to pass.
Klitschko, 64-4 with 53 knockouts, age 40, Kiev, Ukraine, was owed a mandatory rematch with Tyson Fury, who never defended and subsequently got stripped of his belts. Klitschko versus Joshua will be for the international Boxing Federation, vacant World Boxing Association Super and vacant International Boxing Organization titles. More significantly, Joshua, 18-0 with 18 knockouts, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom, at age 27 has knocked out every opponent he has every faced. Dr. Steelhammer, 6’6” with an 81 inch reach, will face Joshua, 6’6” with an 82 inch reach. The odds, given age and Joshua’s knockout percentage, say Klitschko doesn’t hear the final bell by the bookies.
However, Klitschko remains motivated and always fights the best. Joshua is fighting up as well. A 12 round decision does not shake either fighter’s career one way or the other. Joshua or Wladimir Klitschko versus Deontay Wilder in a mega bout super hyped pay-per-view unification match which could be next in late 2017. The predict here is a split or majority decision in 12 rounds for either Joshua or Klitschko, for whoever carries forth their game plan successfully. Will Klitschko get a fair shake by the judges in the United Kingdom on Joshua territory? One must consider no Joshua bout has gone the distance, and Joshua will endeavor to keep it that way………………but not if Dr. Steelhammer can help it.
To win, Klitschko has to outwork Joshua technically and control the ring. Joshua will try to use power shots to break Litschko down early, win the early rounds, and finish KLitschko after round six. It becomes interesting if Joshua cannot get Klitschko out of there and it becomes a points war, where the odds could favor Klitschko is the bout goes into the championship rounds. Since Joshua has never faced a main event opponent of te caliber of Klitschko, it’s hard to tell. For Joshua, this will be his fourth bout in 12 months. For Klitschko, it will be his first bout in 16 months, meaning inactivity and ring rust could be a major factor if Dr. Klitschko starts slows and gives away the early rounds. Against an opponent like Joshua, getting behind on the cards early will make the later rounds of the bout an impossible journey, such as occurred with Miguel Cotto versus Sergio Gabriel Martinez at Madison Square Garden in June 2014. For now, Klitschko versus Joshua is the bout of the year in 2017, if it lives up to its competitive spirit.