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Wladimir Klitschko hitting the weights for Joshua bout

Anthony Joshua Errol Spence Jr Wladimir Klitschko

By Scott Gilfoid: Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) has been lifting a lot of weights in getting ready for his fight this month against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) on April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Wladimir usually takes it easy on the weights, but he appears to be really bulking up for this fight knowing that he’s got to deal with the 250 pound Joshua.

It’s wise for Wladimir to be focusing on his muscles, because the last thing he needs is to be the weaker guy inside the ring on the night. Joshua, 6’6”, is usually the stronger guy in his fights. He’s not a quick fighter. He’s just bigger than his opponents, and he uses his size to get the better of them.

Joshua, 27, was one of Wladimir’s sparring partners 3 years ago in 2014 in helping him prepare for his title defense against Kubrat Pulev. There are rumors that Wladimir got the better of Joshua in those sparring sessions, which is perhaps why he’s so eager to fight him. Wladimir knows what’s like to fight him. Joshua will at least try and fight rather than run around the ring like Wladimir’s last opponent Tyson Fury did in their fight in 2015.

If Wladimir can hit Joshua, he’ll have a chance of knocking him out, because he doesn’t have the greatest chin in the world. Joshua can dish it out, but he cannot take it nearly as well. Someone is going to knock Joshua out sooner or later. Will it be Wladimir that does the job on him? I doubt it, but he at least has the size, power and the muscle weight to get the job done if he can be courageous enough to let his hands go.

If nothing else, Wladimir won’t get bumped around the ring by Joshua if he puts on as much muscle as possible. Wladimir needs to make sure that when he throws his shots, he’s not getting his punches blocked by Joshua’s bigger arms and shoulders. Having more muscles will help Wladimir punch through Joshua’s guard to land to his vulnerable head. Joshua has put on 20 pounds of muscle weight since turning pro in 2013. Joshua clearly isn’t faster for having put on the extra muscle despite what many of his boxing fans say. He’s definitely slower than he was in the amateur ranks. His chin is obviously no better than it was when he was knocked out in 2011 by Mihai Nistor. The only thing that’s changed is he’s put on a lot of muscle weight.

Wladimir will at least not be the smaller fighter on the night when he gets inside the ring with the 6’6” Joshua. Both guys are 6’6”, but Wladimir definitely looks about an inch taller and with longer arms.

Unfortunately, having a lot of muscle won’t help Wladimir if he doesn’t let his hands go on April 29 when he gets inside the ring with Joshua. Wladimir looked very afraid to throw power punches in his last two fights against non-punchers Tyson Fury and Bryant Jennings. He lost to Fury simply because he didn’t let his hands go. He beat Jennings by a very unimpressive 12 round. I’m sure Wladimir would like to have both fights back so that he could improve upon the many mistakes that he made in those fights. With no real risk from the weak punches from Jennings and Fury, Wladimir should have been able to KO both guys. If he had taken risks against them, he probably would have knocked both guys out early in the fights.

The sad reality is that unless Wladimir throws his power shots with conviction against Joshua, he’ll get knocked out quickly. Joshua is very hittable. He likes to plant himself in front of his opponents right off the bat in his fights, pushing his punches without much speed. Once Joshua stuns his opposition, he then unloads on them with a flurry of shots until they go down. Wladimir can take advantage of Joshua’s tendency to open up by nailing him with a big shot when he tries to flurry on him.

Errol Spence Jr. knocked out Charles Hatley says trainer

Derrick James, the trainer for unbeaten welterweight contender Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs), says he knocked out #1 WBC junior middleweight contender Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) in the past during their sparing sessions. James says that they had to stop sparring with Hatley because it wasn’t competitive. Hatley, 31, will be challenging WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) on April 22 on Showtime Championship Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Spence will be taking on IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Spence is the favorite to beat Brook, even though he’ll be fighting in front of a large crowd of Brook supporters on the night.

“Well, the first time I saw them spar, it was pretty decent,” said James. “They’ve only sparred 3 times when I was training Errol. And the first time was pretty decent. The last times were, well, you know what Errol’s motto is. And that was it. We never sparred with him again because it was not so competitive,” said James.

That’s pretty impressive that James is saying that Spence knocked out Hatley, because he’s bigger than Spence. If Spence is knocking out top junior middleweights like Hatley, then that doesn’t bode well for Brook when he gets him inside the ring next month. Brook lost his last fight to Gennady Golovkin, and he’s got to drop a lot of weight to get down to the 147lb limit for the fight. It’s going to be hard enough just to get down to the welterweight limit for Brook. Of course, Brook can always give up his IBF title on the scales and focus instead on just trying to win the fight.

As far as the Charlo-Hatley fight goes, Hatley denies that he was knocked down by Spence, and he says he has video of their sparring sessions.

“I heard everything that was being said which wasn’t true,” said Hatley. “I swear I sparred Errol many times and yes, we worked several times. Whatever he wants to say, man down, that’s definitely ain’t true. I got footage of us sparring,” said Hatley.

“It wasn’t worth the time, man,” said James to Hatley “It wasn’t competitive.”

I don’t think any of this matters, to be honest. Whether Spence knocked Hatley out or not, he’s still going to have major problems in his fight against Jermell Charlo on April 22. It’s a bad match-up for Hatley, whose best win of his career came against Anthony Mundine a year and a half ago in November 2015. That’s a long time for Hatley to be outside of the ring. Hatley is coming off of a big layoff and taking on one of the best fighters at 154 in Charlo.

I don’t rate Charlo as high as his brother Jermall, Demetrius Andrade or Erislandy Lara, but he’s still a very good fighter. Jermell is a good technical fighter that beats his opponents with his boxing skills rather than his power. Charlo is still unbeaten despite having a lot of problems in his fights against Vanes Martirosyan and Gabriel Rosado. Those were very tough fights for Charlo, and he looked like he came close to losing both of the fights.

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