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Klitschko: Anthony Joshua is the future of the Heavyweight division

Anthony Joshua Wladimir KlitschkoBy Scott Gilfoid: In a recent interview, IBO/IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko remarked that he thinks that British heavyweight Anthony Joshua (13-0, 13 KOs) is the future of the heavyweight division. Klitschko recently sparred with the 6’6” 248lb Joshua and came away from the experience impressed enough to christen the 25-year-old Joshua as the future for the division.

I’m not sure what took place in those sparring sessions for the 39-year-old Wladimir to proclaim that Joshua will be the future, but it must have been something.

I don’t know whether Wladimir was making that statement because he was interviewed by a British site, or if this is something that he really believes. I do know that Wladimir recently chimed in with pretty same quote word for world to the Boxing News site, and that has me wondering what Wladimir would say if he were interviewed by non-British sites. Would he say the same thing or would he suddenly blow a different trumpet by saying someone like Deontay Wilder is the greatest thing since sliced bread? I do know that Wladimir smothered Deontay with compliments after he trained with him a few years ago, and Deontay has improved a great deal since then.

Klitschko said “the future of the division belongs to Joshua” in an interview with the “I haven’t seen an athlete as athletic, as big, as fast, as talented as Anthony and if he’s going to continue the way he is, developing himself, the future belongs to him.”

Here’s my take: I think Joshua is can be beaten by fighters that have the brains to stay off the ropes, keeping the action in the center of the ring, and above all getting off first. If you look at the guys –Roberto Cammarelle and Erislandy Savon – that arguably beat Joshua in the 2012 London Olympics and the guys that almost beat him – Ivan Dychko and Zhang Zhilei – they all kept Joshua in the center of the ring. They also didn’t wait on Joshua to throw his punches. These guys were all getting their punches off first, forcing Joshua to react rather than letting him be first with his punches.

Joshua’s form breaks apart into little pieces when he’s getting nailed with straight right and left hands, as we saw in his fights against those guys, and he was not effective at all. I actually had Joshua losing all four fights in the Olympics, especially his fights against Cammarelle and Savon. Oddly enough, those were the last times that Joshua fought anyone good. Joshua has been fed easy 2nd 3rd tier opposition as a pro and faced no one near the level of the guys he fought in the Olympics.

As a pro, Joshua has fought dreadful opposition from day one until his recent fight last Saturday. Joshua is simply not being put in with good opposition that has the brains, power and offensive skills to get their shots off first and keep the fight in the center of the ring. I don’t see that changing for Joshua’s next fight on July 18th in Manchester or in his fight on September 12th. The names that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn rattled off recently suggests that he’s going to put him in with a soft touch for both of those dates.

My guess is he’ll throw Manuel Charr in with Joshua on July 18th, and then maybe put him in with Dereck Chisora or Tony Thompson in September. I don’t see him being put in with a puncher like David Price or Dillian Whyte. I mean, Price is flawed as heck, but he’s at least smart enough to know that he would need to keep the action in the center of the ring, and that he would need to get his big power shots off first. He wouldn’t wait on Joshua to throw his punches because that would give him too much of an advantage.

I rate Joshua as a top 10 guy, but that’s it. I don’t see him as the future of anything. It’s nice that Wladimir is pouring compliments over the head of Joshua at the moment, but Wladimir is a guy that was trounced by Corrie Sanders and he never avenged the defeat, so I don’t recognize Wladimir as being an authority on whose good or who’s not good.

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