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Klitschko explains why he didn’t try to finish Joshua in 6th round

Anthony Joshua Wladimir Klitschko


By Scott Gilfoid: The big punching Ukrainian star Wladimir Klitschko had IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua badly hurt and totally exhausted after knocking him down in round 6 last night at Wembley Stadium, but instead of looking to put the coup de grace to finish him, Wladimir let him survive.

This move by the 41-year-old Klitschko to allow Joshua to survive would later on cost him the fight when the 27-year-old was able to come back and knock him out in the 11th round after he had finally recovered from expending energy in the 5th. At the post-fight press conference, Wladimir told the boxing media that he let Joshua survive because he thought it would be his night and that he would be able to dominate the rest of the fight. That turned out to be a huge mistake on Wladimir’s part, because Joshua came back and won the fight.

It was a mistake that a novice fighter would make but not an experienced heavyweight. Wladimir should have known that you DO NOT let a fighter off the hook when you have them hurt, especially when he’s facing a world champion. Wladimir should have been given clear instructions in the corner to finish off Joshua at all costs. Whether that happened or not is unknown. If Wladimir’s trainer Johnathon Banks didn’t tell him to go after Joshua to knock him out, then he needs to get a new trainer, because a quality trainer would have known that you cannot let a fighter like Joshua off the hook. It a stupid mistake by Wladimir and it cost him the fight.

“It was a good fight. I wish I had been the winner of tonight’s contest,” said Wladimir at the post fight press conference last Saturday night. “AJ did a good job. He was trying, he was focused, even when he went down. He got up and came back. Maybe I could have done more after he was knocked down. No, I’m not going to consider anything and make any statement [about retirement]. It’s too early. I actually feel pretty good. I lost. I will take my time and let you know. I have a rematch clause in my contract which I can execute when I have to do it, and right now I won’t make any quick decisions. I thought he was going to get up. He managed to get up. At this moment, I kind of felt he was out of gas and concentration. He recovered though through the rounds. I think I could have done more to finish him off maybe after he went down, but I was pretty sure that it was going to be my night, so I took my time,” said Klitschko.

As you can see, Wladimir got overconfident and assumed that he could toy with Joshua for the remainder of the fight and get him out of there at any time. Wladimir was too confident for his own good at forgot that Joshua was still dangerous. If Wladimir had watched Joshua’s fight with Dillian Whyte, he would have known that you can’t let Joshua hang around after you hurt him because he’ll come back after two or three rounds and look to finish you. In the Joshua-Whyte fight, Joshua was badly hurt in round 2 after getting hit with a big left hook by Whyte.

Joshua was also gassed out from throwing a lot of punches in that round. Whyte wasn’t able to finish Joshua off because he had injured his left shoulder in the round. Joshua couldn’t take advantage of Whyte’s injury in the next few rounds because he was totally gassed out and needed to have the pace of the fight slowed down. It literally took Joshua 3 rounds to get his second wind and start fighting hard again. Once that happened, Whyte was at his mercy and was knocked out soon after in round 7. If Wladimir had seen and remembered that fight, he wouldn’t have let Joshua off the hook in round 6. He would have emptied his own tank to knock him out. Wladimir didn’t have to knock Joshua out in the 6th. He could have done it in the 7th as well, because Joshua was still exhausted and unable to fight hard.

As Wladimir pointed out, he has a rematch clause with Joshua and he’s now tied to him. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t want to admit that he might have to fight Klitschko next. Hearn said after the fight that he’s not sure who Joshua will fight next. Hearn mentioned Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker as guys that could be facing Joshua next. It sounds like dream stuff to me, because Wladimir said he will absolutely execute his rematch clause in his contract with Joshua in order to fight him next. Hearn doesn’t seem took eager to make the Joshua-Wladimir II fight. Hearn saw that his golden goose was almost knocked out last night, and he might not want to have him plucked clean by Wladimir in a rematch. If Wladimir fights smart and doesn’t coast like he did last night, Joshua’s goose is cooked in a rematch. Wladimir showed that Joshua last night that Joshua is a slow, over-muscled heavyweight with limited skills and terrible stamina and punch resistance.

I think Hearn wants to move Joshua in another direction to avoid having him beaten by Wladimir, because once that happens, the Joshua money train could come grinding to an abrupt halt. All that good clean cash that Joshua brings in for his mismatches could dry up overnight if Wladimir beats him. Hearn said if it’s up to him, he would prefer that Wladimir fight Tyson Fury next.

Unfortunately, Fury doesn’t have a boxing license and needs to get it back from the British Boxing Board of Control. He also needs to lose a lot of weight. None of those things are going to happen before Joshua needs to fight again. Hearn’s wishes for a big money fight for Joshua against Fury instead of second fight against Wladimir appear to be a desperate pipe dream in which a person wishes for an alternative reality to save them from an unpleasant ordeal.

I hate to be the one to break this to Hearn, but Fury cannot be Joshua and his lifeline to save them from a rematch with Wladimir. They’re going to have to take that fight immediately if the rematch clause is a solid one and if Wladimir executes it, which he has already said that he plans on doing. So for Hearn to be pining away for a Fury fight for Joshua, it’s a waste of time. Hearn needs to recognize that Joshua is going to have to fight Wladimir again right away, and he should plan for that.

If I were Hearn, I’d take away Joshua’s weight set and have him lose 30 pounds of that useless muscle he’s carrying around on his frame and get him down to 220 so that he could find some speed and stamina. Joshua was slow as heck last night. That bodybuilding muscle didn’t help him one bit last night. It just made him like a fat person that was carrying around a bunch of blubber.

WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker saw Joshua’s performance last night and he says he wants to put together a fight with him in the future after he defends his WBO title against his former sparring partner Razvan Cojanu on May 6. Cojanu is a replacement for Parker’s mandatory challenger Hughie Fury, who pulled out of their May 6 fight saying he had a back problem.

“Joshua is the man to beat. He got off the canvas and showed heart but I think every fighter has things they’ve got to work on, weaknesses and strengths, and I feel like I just have to get past this next fight and then I look forward to sitting down and planning a fight with him in the future,” said Parker to skysports.com.

Parker is going to have to wait his turn for a fight against Joshua because Wladimir has first dibs at fighting him. Right about now, the 25-year-old Parker is probably licking his chops and getting ready to pin his ears back to go after Joshua after seeing how vulnerable he looked last night. Parker is capable of finishing off his opponents when he has them hurt. He doesn’t tell himself, ‘Man, this is my night. I can finish off my hurt opponent at any time, so why try and finish them off.’ Parker wouldn’t make a similar blunder as Wladimir by letting Joshua survive after he was badly hurt and gassed out in the 6th round. That’s what I like about Parker. He’s very practical. He has a common sense approach to his fights. When Parker sees that his opponents are hurt, he puts them out of their misery. He doesn’t tell himself that it’s his night and that he can toy with his opponent for the remainder of the fight. Parker understands the important of finishing off an opponent when they’re hurt. I just wish Wladimir understood that concept, because he made a colossal blunder last Saturday night in letting Joshua survive after he had him hurt in round 6.


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