By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
With a mandatory rematch clause in effect and the sanctioning bodies making exceptions for their mandatory opponents, Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko II is likely coming soon to pay-per-view. Over 90 thousand spectators watched Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko I, in which Joshua came off the canvas to drop Klitschko several times and stop him in the eleventh round in a wild ending thriller which might be repeated.
Wladimir’s issue is he has not won a bout since April 2015, when he decisioned Bryan Jennings at Madison Square Garden. His bout this past April at Wembley with Joshua was his first since getting decisioned by Tyson Fury at ESPIRIT Arena in Dusseldorf Germany in November 2015. Inactivity has caused Wladimir to be somewhat rusty, and Wladimir could probably use a tune up before reentering the ring with Joshua and get much needed work in and a much needed win.
In the first bout with Joshua, Klitschko had Joshua down in the sixth round and seemingly ready to go. His major issue was he was either un willing or unable to floor the gas pedal and finish Joshua off. Caution needed to be thrown to the wind, as the aging 41-year-old Klitschko looks today more like a 10 round fighter than a 12 round fighter. Wladimir’s chin was exposed early years ago against the late Corrie Sanders. His chin and heart and not in question now, but his stamina is. The hard cruel reality is Wladimir cannot go 12 rounds against the 27-year- old Joshua and achieve a points win. Wladimir’s corner operated with the mistaken belief game plan Joshua could be broken down and stopped in the championship rounds, where he had never been. The reverse occurred instead.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, Joshua’s promoter, should announce the date and place of the rematch, possibly at Wembley again, with the IBF, IBO and WBA world heavyweight titles at stake, very shortly.
Hearn said: “They have objected to the IBF request, as they should and we’ll see how they rule.
“But I’ll say again, we can not escape the Pulev fight, we are having the Pulev fight, whether that is next, or the one after.”
Hearn explained the importance of Joshua keeping all his world titles, saying he wants him to be the undisputed champion.
He added: “I want him to be the undisputed champ and that means winning all the belts, but again, as I’ve always stressed, I won’t let the belts and the politics get in the way of Anthony’s progression.
“So hopefully we can deal with our mandatories and be in the super-fights.”
The money will most certainly be in the table again. Can Klitschko find the way to be the first winner in Joshua’s first 20 professional bouts? Not likely, in all probability, unless he can demonstrate power and stamina and consistency. Klitschko will have to finish Joshua off with power shots in the first nine or ten rounds. If not, Joshua versus Klitschko II will simply prove to be a unpleasant repeat of the first encounter, with Joshua breaking Wladimir down, and outlasting him in the late rounds to win by stoppage.
Once Wladimir realizes the rematch is kill or be killed, if he does, the resulting style of bout could still prove to be the fight of the year in 2017, for as long as it lasts. Considering Joshua was down, and Wladimir was down three times in the first bout, the second bout might not last as long as the first, if it evolves into a power shot war. To win on points, Wladimir would have to demonstrate superior stamina in the championship rounds, nine through twelve. If the rematch lasts that long, Joshua will probably be way ahead on the scorecards, leaving Wladimir’s new game plan limited to a decidedly stoppage objective.