Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko possible options for Anthony Joshua’s April 13 fight
By Jeff Aranow: Promoter Eddie Hearn still isn’t ruling out Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko as possible options for Anthony Joshua’s title defense on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Hearn says he doesn’t want to rule out Wladimir or Ward as potential “wildcard” options for the unbeaten IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) to fight on April 13 if he can’t put together a fight against WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Joshua wants the Wilder fight, as long as he defeats Tyson Fury eight days from now in their fight on December 1. Hearn states that he’s going to offer Wilder a 2-fight deal for a fight against Joshua. Hearn didn’t go into the particulars about the deal, but it’s likely the same one that he’s been talking about for months.
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) would need to come to the UK for the first fight. If he wins the match, then there would be a second fight in the U.S. It’s a great deal for Joshua, as he would have the home country advantage for the crucial first fight. That’s the most important of the two matches, since it could result in Joshua winning with the help of the fans encouraging him with their support.
As far as Wladimir goes, his manager Bernd Boente already ruled him out for the Joshua fight. However, according to Hearn, Wladimir is saying that no one should speak for him. That means Wladimir, 42, might be interested in taking the fight with Joshua.
“People talk about Andre Ward, Wladimir Klitschko, who knows what could happen?” Hearn said to skysports.com. But you can’t just limit yourself to saying ‘all eggs in one basket for Deontay Wilder…Bernd Boente said ‘It’s not Wladimir Klitschko’ and Wladimir said ‘Hold on, don’t talk for me, I’ll talk for myself.’ An April return, Wladimir Klitschko against Joshua, who knows? That would be what? Two years on from their first epic fight. One of the best heavyweight fights of all time. We’ll see.”
Ward, 34, has never fought above light heavyweight during his career. It would be a big move on his part to move up two weight classes to take on the 6’6″ Joshua. At 6’0″, Ward would be greatly out-sized by Joshua. The fight would create a lot of interest from the boxing public in the UK, but ultimately it would likely be a tremendous mismatch in favor Joshua. That would be alright with the British boxing fans, since they’re quite accustomed to Joshua wiping out the guys that Hearn lines up for him to face. Joshua has only been involved in three competitive fights during his five-year pro career against Wladimir, Dillian Whyte and Carlos Takam. Joshua’s other fights have been mismatches that were always intended to be. Ward would fall into that category unfortunately.
A likely much more competitive fight would be a rematch between Joshua and Wladimir. Joshua was almost knocked out by Wladimir last year in April 2017 when he was dropped by him in the 6th. When Wladimir decided to fight defensively from the outside for the remainder of the contest, he gave away his chance of winning. Joshua was gassed out and hurt from the 6th to the 10th. Wladimir would have won in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans if he had his trainer Emanuel Steward with him on the night. Sadly, Steward passed away in 2012, and Wladimir has never looked the same since inside the ring. If Wladimir has a good trainer that can motivate him to attack Joshua, he could knock him out and derail his career. At this point, it’s questionable whether there’s a trainer out there that Wladimir would listen to and follow their instructions inside the ring.