Wladimir obsessed with beating Joshua
By Scott Gilfoid: Wladimir Klitschko is the underdog for his April 29 fight against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, but he doesn’t care. Wladimir says he’s “obsessed” with beating the 27-year-old Joshua to become a world champion for a third time in his long 21-year pro career.
It doesn’t look good for Wladimir, who will be turning 41 on March 25. He hasn’t fought since 2015, and he looked totally gun-shy in his loss to Tyson Fury in his last fight. When did throw his punches, he missed by a country mile every time. It wasn’t that Fury was elusive. It looked more like the case of Wladimir not having the hand-eye coordination needed to hit the big stork-like Fury, who was just begging to be punched with the way he was standing directly in front of the Ukrainian fighter.
Now we’re looking at a very ring rusty Wladimir facing a guy with a body-builder’s physique in Joshua on April 29 in front of 80,000 boxing fans. These are largely going to be Joshua’s fans. Wladimir is likely going to be intimidated and cowed by Joshua and his fans. Wladimir is used to fighting in front of large groups of his owns. In the handful of fights where the fans have started rooting for his opponents, Wladimir has looked uncomfortable.
Wladimir said this to Sky Sports News HQ: “I honestly asked myself ‘do I really like what I do?’ and I said ‘no Wlad, I actually love what I do’. I’m the underdog in this fight and this is actually exciting for me. I haven’t been in this situation for such a long time. I feel young and challenged. I’m the official challenger. Great!”
Oh brother, Wladimir sounds like he’s using reverse psychology in trying to make it a good thing that he’s the underdog. I don’t buy it. I think he’s VERY uncomfortable going into this fight, as well he should be. There’s going to be ton of screaming British fans on April 29, and Wladimir is going to be pretty much out there on his own. I can’t imagine too many of Wladimir’s fans making the trip to see him fight at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Even the ones that do make the trip, they’re going to be greatly outnumbered by Joshua’s fans. If it was Deontay Wilder facing Joshua on the night, I would see him being in a great position to win. Wilder is one of those self-contained fighters who doesn’t seem to care whether the boxing fans are rooting against him or not. He’s going to be looking to take his opponent’s head off no matter what.
Fighting in front of a hostile audience would make Wilder even more dangerous, because he would be fighting for survival and he’d very dangerous inside the ring. With Wladimir, he’ll very likely be paralyzed with fear and won’t throw punches. We saw that from Wladimir in his loss to Fury. Wladimir looked petrified inside the ring, and he basically just followed Fury around the ring all night long without throwing punches. It was pretty awful to see.
“I want to leave the ring as the champion and the winner of this fight – that’s my obsession. I’m obsessed about it,” said Wladimir.
Wladimir is familiar with Joshua after using him as a sparring partner in 2014 to get ready for his title defense against Kubrat Pulev. Their sparring sessions were said to be competitive with neither guy getting the better of it. I wonder if Wladimir is going by the sparring sessions in thinking he’s got a chance to beat Joshua. I think it’s a mistake.
Wladimir is not the fighter he was in 2014 in my opinion. I think he’s aged and is no longer the same guy. When you add 2 years of inactivity to the equation for Wladimir, I don’t see him having much of any chance of pulling off an upset against Joshua. If it were me, I’d be swinging for the fences looking to take Joshua out in the 1st round. I don’t think Wladimir’s going to do that though. I see him failing to let his hands go and getting blasted apart in one or two rounds by Joshua.