Joshua turning into Wladimir 2.0
By Jeff Aranow: If you saw last Saturday’s fight between IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) and WBO champion Joseph Parker, you likely would have noticed the huge similarities between the way AJ is now fighting compared to former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua is said to have been talking to Wladimir a lot in getting ready for the March 31 unification fight against Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) last Saturday at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. It’s possible that Wladimir gave Joshua pointers about using his jab more frequently, throwing more left hooks, and holding his left arm far out in front of him to keep Parker from getting in punching range.
The change in Joshua’s fighting style is dramatic. He’s become Wladimir 2.0. Joshua’s jab isn’t at the level of Wladimir’s, but it was close, and it was his main weapon against Parker in neutralizing his offense.
These are some of the things Joshua appears to have learned from Wladimir:
• Jabbing frequently and heavily
• Clinching – Joshua used more clinching against Parker than he’d ever done before
• Holding left arm out in front of him while retreating
• Left hooks – Joshua threw a left hook against Parker. That was another one of Wladimir’s weapons
Joshua can improve greatly if he can learn more from Wladimir, especially in the footwork department. Being able to move around on the outside and change direction the way Wladimir could wound be a huge plus for Joshua. He’s been mostly a flat-footed fighter since he turned pro. Last Saturday was the first time Joshua showing an ability to move around the ring for an extended period.
Whether Joshua will continue to fight like this is unknown, but right now he’s looking like another Wladimir with the way he’s fighting. It worked for Joshua against Parker, because he was able to keep the fight on the outside for the most part and avoid getting hit by his fast combination’s.
Joshua has changed his fighting style almost entirely compared to how he used to fight. He’s now jabbing frequently and throwing left hooks the way Wladimir did during his career. Joshua is now even backing up while his left arm out in front of him the way Wladimir used to do it. This was an old trick that used his entire career to prevent his opponents from getting close to him while he was retreating.
Joshua will never have Wladimir’s athleticism, mobility, hand speed or his punching power, but he can be a decent copy of him. We’ve seen some fighters try and adopt Wladimir’s style, but none have been successful until now. Joshua did a decent job for his first time out using Wladimir’s fighting style.
Joshua is going to need to be more like Wladimir to hold onto his heavyweight titles for a prolonged period of time, considering he doesn’t have the best chin or the stamina to be able to last long as a champion. Wladimir learned to slow down his fights and pace himself after he was stopped by Ross Puritty early in his career.