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Anthony Joshua has the potential to be a great star in boxing, says Wladimir Klitschko

Anthony Joshua Wladimir KlitschkoBy Scott Gilfoid: IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko believes that unbeaten British heavyweight Anthony Joshua (13-0, 13 KOs) has the talent to become the next big star in boxing and win world titles in the division.

Wladimir,39, used Joshua briefly as a sparring partner to get him ready for his title defense against Kubrat Pulev earlier this year. Unfortunately for Wladimir, he was injured during the training camp and wasn’t able to continue sparring with Joshua for the full camp to sum up whether he’s good or not.

It’s all good that Wladimir is on the Joshua bandwagon, but the problem is Joshua has Dillian Whyte problems. He lost to him, and he was kind of exposed. Joshua also has Roberto Cammarelle and Erislandy Savon problems as well. Both of those guys arguably beat Joshua in the Olympics in 2012. Joshua was given the decisions in both of those fights, but boxing fans as a whole saw Joshua losing to both of those guys.

Just so you know, the 2012 Olympics took place in London, England. As such, you can’t say that Joshua is going to be the best when he’s still got problems against other heavyweights that beat him in Cammarelle, Savon and Whyte. Now if Wladimir wants to fly over to Italy to spar Cammarelle, or Cuba to face Savon or England to battle Whyte, then he can say who will have the future or not in the heavyweight division.

Wladimir still hasn’t fought Deontay Wilder, so unless he does that, he can’t say who will be the future star or not, can he? Wladimir is just guessing at this point based on watching Joshua beat up on 3rd tier heavyweights picked out by his promoter Eddie Hearn, and based on his sparring session.

“Through 25 years of experiences in training camps and with opponents, in that time, there is one highlight, one person who has the potential to be a real big star in boxing – not only inside the ring but outside of it too,” said the 39-year-old in an interview with BBC Sport. “That person I am talking about is Anthony Joshua.”

I don’t think Joshua has the skills to become a big star in the future. I see him getting beaten by guys like Whyte, Wilder, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev, Lucas Browne, and Carlos Takam. I think several other heavyweights will beat him as well. Joshua is good when his opponents run to the ropes and cover up in a fetal position like we’ve seen from some of his recent opposition, but he’s not impressive when they stay in the center of the ring and go after him the way that all of his opponents did in the Olympics.

I had Joshua losing all four of his fights in the 2012 Olympics. I didn’t think he won any of those fights. The guys that Joshua has faced since he turned pro are fighters that his Olympic opponents would have breezed through if they had turned pro at the same time as him and started getting weak opposition tossed in the ring with him. I just wonder if Wladimir would say that they’re the next best heavyweights as well.

It would obviously confuse things if Savon and Cammarelle were matched against the same weak opposition that Joshua had faced and they knocked them all out inside 4 rounds. It would complicate Wladimir’s decision making, because he couldn’t just start predicting great things from Joshua if Cammarelle and Savon were doing the same things against the fodder that Joshua had faced.

“He [Joshua] has the qualities that not many have had,” Wladimir said. “Either they had good skills but not the strength or they had the strength but no good skills. Or they would be good in the ring but not outside it because their own life outside messed them up and actually became reflective of their sporting career. I think Anthony has all the tools to become a great person and a great champion inside the ring and, most importantly, outside it as well.”

I don’t see Wladimir as the decider on who will be great or not. I don’t recognize him as being the one who will determine who the next great heavyweight will be. A lot of boxing fans have their own thoughts on which the next great heavyweight will be, and Joshua isn’t the one that many of the fans are thinking will be the guy. I see Deontay Wilder as being the next great heavyweight.

I think Joshua can be a good contender, a good gate keeper type. He’s a good basic fighter. I just think he’s going to get exposed when he faces Whyte in November or December. I’m not sure what Wladimir will say once Joshua loses to Whyte. Does Wladimir stubbornly persist with his opinion that Joshua will be the next great heavyweight in time, or will he change things up by saying that Whyte will be the next great heavyweight?

If Wladimir sticks to his opinion that Joshua will be the next great heavyweight, then he’s going to need to give a time estimate for when that’s going to happen. With Joshua getting knocked out or outpointed by Whyte, Wladimir couldn’t very well say that Joshua is ready to become the next great heavyweight now. He’d have to come up with a different time line.

Joshua will be fighting next on September 12th against unbeaten 2nd tier fighter Gary Cornish (21-0, 12 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, UK. It’s another fight that won’t tell us anything about Joshua’s talent because Cornish is a limited fighter with an inflated resume. His true talent obviously isn’t reflected by his inflated record because he’s faced nothing but weak opposition thus far.

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