Wladimir Klitschko says he’s made the needed upgrades to his game for him to hand IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua his first loss of his career in 23 days from now on April 29 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The two of them will be fighting in front of 90,000 boxing fans. Most of the fans will be Joshua’s British fans, and that’s not good for the 41-year-old Klitschko because he needs as much help as he can get.
The 6’6” Wladimir is a big undercard in this fight, and no amount of positive talk from the big Ukrainian is going to change that. The odds-makers know what they see in Klitschko, and they’ve rightfully picked Joshua to win.
“There’s so many things, even at this stage of my career, that is being upgraded. So, it’s getting better and more exciting,” said Klitschko to Sky Sports News HQ. “I am happy about it and I am very fortunate. I’ve been working for it for a long time and things happen for a reason. I am happy about having AJ as my opponent because AJ needs me and I need AJ to make this event happen.”
Wladimir isn’t saying what the upgrades are in his game that he’ll be unveiling on April 29, but he could really help himself if he threw some more punches than he did in his last fight against Tyson Fury. Wladimir’s punch output against Fury was woeful to say the least. He would not throw punches in the fight. It’s nice that Wladimir’s talking a lot about him upgrading his game, but he really doesn’t need to do much to improve aside from throwing punches.
The problem is Wladimir is facing one of the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division in 27-year-old Joshua, and if he does throw a lot of shots, he could wind up taking a big punch from him. Wladimir is capable of jabbing, and he may even be able to hit the 6’6” Joshua with his jab. He certainly couldn’t land his jabs against the 6’9” Fury in his last fight in 2015. Wladimir stopped trying after a while and ended up losing the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision. If Wladimir had just thrown a handful of more punches in each round, he would have won the fight.
“It’s simple as this; I just want to win my next fight and to show to myself that I can do it. I know that I can do it,” said Klitschko.
I don’t know if I buy what Klitschko, 41, is saying because it helps his bottom line obviously to talk up the Joshua fight as much as possible in order to drive interest in the fight in terms of pay-per-view buys on Sky Box Office. There’s a lot of money to be made from the British boxing fans in purchasing the fight on PPV. The fight isn’t on PPV in German and elsewhere in Europe and the United States. But it definitely helps for Wladimir to talk up his chances in this fight as much as possible.
The more boxing fans that hear Wladimir yapping about the Joshua fight, the more fans will wind up buying it. When you look at the promotion and marketing of the Klitschko vs. Joshua fight, it’s been undersold in a huge way by the organizers of the fight. Instead of them talking about the fight and trying to create interest and friction between the two fighters, we’ve heard scarcely anything about the fight. Hardcore boxing fans perceived the fight to be a mismatch with Joshua representing the young star facing an old timer in Wladimir, who is perhaps fighting for the final time in his long career.
Joshua is the young lion and Wladimir the toothless lion that is about to be ripped apart. It’s fortunate for Joshua that Wladimir is letting himself take the fight with him, because he doesn’t need the money. Wladimir is wealthy already. The payday against Joshua is more like a golden parachute for Wladimir or gold watch, whatever you want to call it. I think Wladimir is definitely going to retire from boxing if the results don’t work out the way he wants it to, and I don’t think they will. Joshua isn’t the greatest fighters that ever breathed or even close to that, but he doesn’t need to be for him to beat Wladimir.
In looking at Wladimir’s last 2 fights, he doesn’t appear good enough to beat some of the contenders in the division, let alone a talent like Joshua. It’s a fight that is coming at the wrong time for Wladimir’s career. If he was younger in his 20s, he would have a very real chance of beating Joshua. Wladimir’s older brother Vitali Klitschko would have been a problem for Joshua in his prime. Vitali had a better chin than Wladimir, and he might have been able to take enough of Joshua’s big power shots to eventually land one of his big right hands.
If Wladimir can try and take the 6’6” Joshua into the deeper rounds of the fight, he could knock him out just based on him being exhausted. Joshua isn’t built for the long haul. He’s super muscular with the type of body that is designed for explosively fast quick knockouts. If Joshua doesn’t get a quick knockout against Wladimir, we could see him labor and possibly gas out. Joshua would be labored the new Frank Bruno if he fades late and gets stopped. That’s not fair to Joshua because he’s clearly a better fighter than Bruno was during his career. But none the less, the fans will still call Joshua the next Bruno.
“I have been doing it for such a long, long time, so the end of the fight is going to be, and I’m focused on this, positive for me where I am going to raise my hands and hold the titles,” said Wladimir Klitschko.
Wladimir can focus on the positive if it makes him feel better. He just needs to think smart about what to do inside the ring. He needs to have back up plans to use if he starts getting clipped by Joshua.