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Joshua: We’ll see how good Klitschko is on Saturday

Anthony Joshua Wladimir Klitschko

By Jeff Aranow: IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) is looking forward to seeing how much the 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) has let in the tank after being out of the ring for 18 months following a loss to Tyson Fury in 2015. Wladimir and Joshua will be fighting on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The fight is going to be a huge one with a massive amount of people attending and a lot more watching it on television in the UK and the U.S.

“We’ll see Saturday night how good he really is,” said Joshua about Klitschko. “People here think he’s the real deal otherwise people wouldn’t buy into the fight the way they had.”

Wladimir never intended on staying out of the ring for close to 2 years. This long period of inactivity was the result of Wladimir waiting for Fury to give him a rematch, which never happened. It’s possible that Wladimir still has something left. We’ll see on Saturday. He looked good in working out in front of the fans. That’s the positive thing. Wladimir still has a lot of hand speed, punching power and mobility. In his open workout on Wednesday, Wladimir looked better than Joshua. Of course, Wladimir wasn’t being punched, and that’s the real test. Can he still take a shot at this point in his career with him coming off of a near 2-year layoff.

“I think he has to switch off from, ‘I respect you,’ to ‘I don’t respect you. I’m going to knock you out,’ and I’m pretty sure he’ll do that,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to IFL TV. “Wladimir will have plenty of opportunities to old man Anthony Joshua or try and old man Anthony Joshua in the ring. What you don’t want is to allow that to happen because 5, 6, 7 rounds, drain him out, and then take him to the deep parts of the fight. AJ has got to sow him no respect while at the same time not become reckless. I hope he gets the respect he deserves against Klitschko on Saturday night if he beats him. By taking the challenge at this point, he deserves the credit,” said Hearn.

Joshua isn’t going to show Wladimir respect inside the ring. Hearn doesn’t need to worry about that. Once Wladimir hits Joshua with the first punch, it’s going to be real out there. Joshua will let his instincts take over and he’ll look to score a knockout like he always does. The question will Joshua be able to catch Wladimir with his best shots early in the fight to get the knockout.

Wladimir is going to be using a lot of movement in the fight to try and keep out of range. Wladimir has sparred 20 rounds with Joshua in the past in 2014, and he knows how to be evasive. The hard part about Wladimir’s job is he’s going to need to move for 12 rounds. He doesn’t that against anyone in his career. The fights that Wladimir has had that have gone 12 rounds were against plodders without much mobility. Wladimir didn’t need to worry about having his opponent cut off the ring on him the way Joshua will be doing.

“I believe we learned each other well,” said Wladimir about his sparring in the past with Joshua. We’re well prepared,” said Wladimir.

Sparring is a lot different from fighting. Joshua was just trying to help Wladimir out in getting him ready for his title defense against Kubrat Pulev. Joshua said it himself that he wasn’t in there trying to show Wladimir anything, because he thought they would never fight. Joshua said he was mostly jabbing and blocking shots rather than going after Wladimir to prove a point. Joshua said he was there as a student to learn how Wladimir set up his camp and what things he used in his training. It wasn’t a situation where Joshua was trying to knock Wladimir out. On Saturday night, it’s going to be a completely different situation. it’s the real thing and Joshua won’t be holding back, and neither will Wladimir.

Joshua doesn’t want Wladimir to use a lot of clinching against him on Saturday night the way he’s done with other opponents. Joshua plans on taking that away from Wladimir by hitting him with uppercuts on the inside, and hitting him with body shots while he’s holding. Joshua says he plans on hitting Wladimir while being held until the referee breaks them apart. If Joshua hits Wladimir enough times, he’s going to think twice about trying to clinch him repeatedly.

”The holding is natural. But what do you do when someone is holding? How do you fight them off? You bring in the upper cut, you whip in a right hand to the body until the ref tells you to break,” said Joshua.




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