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Joshua vs. Klitschko officially announced for April 29

Anthony Joshua Wladimir Klitschko

By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn officially announced the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight for April 29 last Saturday night following Joshua’s 3rd round knockout win over #8 IBF challenger Eric Molina (25-4, 19 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Hearn and Klitschko both came inside the ring to discuss the April 29th Joshua-Klitschko fight, which will be taking place at the 90,000 seat Wembley Arena in London, UK. The fight will be shown on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK. It’s unclear whether HBO Championship Boxing will televise the fight in the States.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the fight winds up on HBO PPV in the U.S. I would hope that they don’t make that move, because then it would be seen by very, very few boxing fans. Joshua isn’t well known in the U.S, and Wladimir never did become a star over there for some reason. Putting Joshua vs. Klitschko on PPV might be a recipe for disaster, especially given that Hearn is trying to make Joshua a star in the U.S.

You don’t make a person a star by putting him on PPV in the States against aging fighter coming off of loss to Tyson Fury and a 1 ½ year layoff from the ring. You make them a start by putting them in with QUALITY opposition, not fringe level guys, and definitely old timers. Joshua’s only two fights that have been televised in the U.S thus far were against fringe contenders Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina. Now he’s about to fight 41-year-old Wladimir.

Wladimir came into the ring at the Manchester Area to speak to the British boxing fans about his fight against Joshua on April 29. What was impossible to miss was how little applause there was when Wladimir was speaking about the Joshua fight. I don’t know what Klitschko was expecting, but he apparently wasn’t getting the kind of applause that he was searching for. Instead of the fans screaming with excitement when Wladimir asked them if they wanted to see him fight Joshua, they barely made any noise at all. It was pretty embarrassing.

The fans did not seem all that thrilled with the fight, which is not surprising, because these were obviously knowledgeable fans who realize that Klitschko is not the same fighter he once was 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Wladimir lost his last fight to Tyson Fury over a year ago in November 2015, and he’s not fought since. The fans obviously saw that fight, and noticed how Wladimir couldn’t pull the trigger on his punches.

Wladimir said this after Joshua’s win over Molina last Saturday night:

“First of all congratulations,” said Klitschko to Joshua. “I was watching AJ fight in London in 2012 when he won a gold medal. I want to ask three questions. Do you want to see where two Olympic champions are involved? Do you want to see a big fight? Do you want to see a fight, AJ against WK? I Don’t hear you. YOU GOT IT.”

It looked bad how Wladimir was trying to get the Manchester fans to scream louder when he asked them if they want to see him fight Joshua. I can’t blame them one bit. This is NOT the fight the fans want to see. The fans want to see Joshua fight Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz, Joshua Parker and David Haye. Seeing Joshua fight an aging and inactive Klitschko is not what they want, especially it being shown Sky Box Office PPV. I would hope that the price for the fight would be no more than the price for the Joshua vs. Molina fight. It would be disappointing if the fans have to pay more to see Joshua fight Klitschko, given that the fight will likely be just as much a mismatch as Joshua-Molina. I could understand the prices being hiked through the roof for a Joshua vs. Klitschko fight if Wladimir was in his 20s still and looking good. He’s not though. Wladimir is going to be 41 by the time he fights Joshua next year, and he’s not a young 41 in my view.

Wladimir couldn’t pull the trigger on his shots against Tyson Fury. The punches that Wladimir did throw missed badly. It wasn’t become of Fury’s defensive skills that the shots missed in my view. It was because he no longer has the hand-eye coordination that he once had earlier in his career. You see this kind of stuff all the time in sports. An athlete gets old and no longer can compete at the same level they once did. It’s no different with Klitschko. Age is starting to rear its ugly head with Klitschko, I hate to say. Now the British fans are expected to get excited about seeing Joshua fight Klitschko on Sky Box Office PPV. I don’t blame them a bit for not screaming their heads off last night when Hearn and Wladimir were speaking about the fight.
Joshua said this about the Klitschko fight:

“We move on to a bigger arena,” said Joshua about his fight against Wladimir at the Wembley Stadium in London, UK. “More people can come and view it. I share the ring with the champ, a very respectful man outside the ring, and very competitive inside the ring. Two warriors are coming together. This is the step up that people have wanted. Klitschko wants those belts back. May the best man win.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wembley Stadium is only half filled on April 29.

Wladimir said: “It’s the best man in the division, and I believe the excitement speaks for itself. So that’s what fans want, and I think there’s no doubt this fight is going to happen. Such an amazing fight had to take place at a great location,” said Klitschko.

“I’d like to officially announce Wladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium on April 29, exclusively on Sky Box Office for the unified heavyweight championship of the world,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“It’s a great location,” said Wladimir. “April 29, that’s the date, I believe. Hopefully it’s going to stay the same. So we will continue with our promotion. Congratulations to AJ [for beating Molina]. Well done. A clean, clear win, and I’m looking forward to the next fight in April,” said Wladimir.

“How I beat him is by being myself,” said Joshua about his fight against Klitschko. “Focus on my training and come with a positive attitude. That’s how I go about beating Klitschko,” said Joshua.

“I’ve been doing this job for 26 years, so I do have a lot of knowledge, and this knowledge will help me in the ring,” said Klitschko about his fight against Joshua. You can’t miss it. You’ve got to watch it.”

“It’s been three years in the making and it’s here now,” said Joshua about the Klitschko fight. “You guys have been watching me on my journey and you’re here.”

“This is the time,” said Hearn about the Joshua-Klitschko fight. “The fans want it. Look at them. You’ve got the man in world boxing against one of the legends in the heavyweight division, two champions at the national stadium with a 90,000 capacity. We can’t wait. This is what it’s all about. This is the biggest fight in British boxing history.”

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