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Vitali: Wladimir will knockout Joshua

Image: Vitali: Wladimir will knockout Joshua

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) is going to be knocked out by the 10th round by former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko this Saturday night if he’s fully focused for the fight, says his brother Vitali Klitschko. Vitali believes that Wladimir is going to be especially dangerous to the 27-year-old Joshua early in the fight. This thought runs counter to what most boxing fans and writers are saying right now. They believe that it’s Joshua who will be more dangerous in the first half of the fight than he will in the second half.

If Wladimir has some tricks up his sleeves on Saturday, then Joshua could be in trouble when he gets inside the ring. Former WBC/WBO heavyweight champion Vitali has sized Joshua up, and he knows what it will take to beat him. He’s obviously given Wladimir plenty of tips in what to do for him to beat Joshua.

We’ve already seen Joshua arguably beaten in the London Olympics in 2012 over and over again, and we saw him beaten in 2011 by Mihai Nistor. What those fighters did to beat Joshua was simple. They took the fight to him and hit him with combinations that broke him down. Joshua doesn’t take shots well. I wish I could say he does, but he doesn’t. He falls apart when he’s hit a lot.

In Wednesday’s workouts for the two fighters, the difference in speed and mobility between Wladimir and Joshua and was shocking. Wladimir was a lot faster both in hand speed and in his ring movements. Joshua looked like a body builder inside the ring, throwing slow punches, and seeming kind of blocky. In looking at video of Joshua in his first fight as a pro and comparing to it to how he looks now, it’s like you’re looking at 2 different fighters. Joshua has packed on so much muscle in just four years.

“He knows that. Right now, he has prepared for this fight so well. I’ve never seen my brother so focused during preparations,” said Vitali to “I know my brother has perfect preparation and great speed. He has great experience as champion. If Wladimir is concentrating for the fight, Joshua has no chance. I am more than sure in 10 rounds, Wladimir will knock Joshua out. You will be surprised how dangerous Wladimir will be, especially early,” said Vitali.

What Wladimir did wrong in his last 2 fights against Tyson Fury and Bryant Jennings was him not throwing his power punches. He wouldn’t commit to his right hand or left hook in either of those fights. Wladimir’s jab bailed him out in the Jennings fight, but that could have been such an easy fight for Wladimir if he had unloaded on Jennings with right hands. We saw how Luis Ortiz was able to knockout Jennings when he started throwing his power shots. Ortiz wasn’t afraid to let his hands go. If Wladimir had unloaded on Jennings and Fury, he would have knocked both of them out. I don’t know if he was motivated properly for either of those fights. It looked like he was just going through the motions.

“The weakness of my brother is concentration. Wladimir was not 100 per cent focused for the Fury fight. That is why he lost it,” said Vitali.

Wladimir’s weakness is he fights with fear too much. He gets nervous when he’s met with adversity in his fights. It’s been like this. Wladimir crumbled against journeyman Ross Purity in getting knocked out by him in the 11th round in their fight in 1998. If Wladimir had stayed calm and stuck to the game plan he had for the fight, he would have beaten him easily. Of course, that was before Wladimir learned how to tie up his opponents to keep them from throwing punches.

Wladimir tried to move all night long against Puritty, and he ran out of gas in the 10th and was stopped in the 11th more from exhaustion than anything. If Wladimir stays calm and realizes that he’s going to have to deal with a lot of pressure on Saturday, he might have a chance of winning. It’s going to be a different experience for Wladimir because he’s going to be facing a pressure fighter that is going to be coming after him.

One big advantage that Wladimir has in this fight is that Joshua has faced so many poor heavyweights since turning pro, and he’s been able to roll over them easily without them putting up much of a fight. Only 2 or 3 of them actually tried to put up a fight. Most of the guys that Joshua has faced just stood there waiting for Joshua to tag them with his best power shots. It’s going to be pretty shocking for Joshua to be inside the ring with someone that can actually fight in Wladimir.

In hindsight, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn should have started matching him against good heavyweights 2 years ago instead of continuing to shovel soft touches into the ring for him to crush one after another. Hearn should have weaned Joshua off the soft opposition by 2015 and started feeding him good opponents like Kubrat Pulev, Robert Helenius, Jarrell Miller, Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin and David Haye. Hearn could have gotten some of those guys to fight Joshua if he had tried to make the fights by offering them some good cash.

There’s going to be a lot of boxing fans inside the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium in cheering for Joshua. The fight will be shown live on Sky Box Office PPV. Why this is potentially a bad thing for Joshua is because it’s going to cause him to fight with emotion and adrenalin rather than with intelligence. Boxing is a sport. When you start fighting with emotion, you end up getting sloppy and that’s how you can get really hurt. As I mentioned already, all the fodder opposition that Hearn has fed Joshua has caused him to get a lot of bad habits in which he bum rushes his opponents without care and just looks to bang them out. You can’t fight like that against good heavyweights like Wladimir and Ortiz.

If Joshua tried to bum rush Wladimir, he could wind up getting knocked out like Kubrat Pulev did. If you watched their fight in 2014, Pulev tried to go after Wladimir in the 1st round, and he was dropped, Wladimir ended up dropping Pulev repeatedly before knocking him out in the 5th round.

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