It’s been a terrific year for British boxing, especially the heavyweight division, and there has been some fantastic match-ups, but this could top all of those fights. Anthony Joshua is defending his IBF heavyweight title, as well as competing for the vacant WBA and IBO heavyweight titles, against the veteran heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium on 29th April next year and you can be sure there will be a showcase of expertise boxing in London in just 4 months time.
Joshua has just come off of a dominant victory against Éric Molina in Manchester a few days ago, finishing the American in just the 3rd round by TKO. This increases AJ’s tally to a flawless 18 consecutive KO victories in 18 professional fights, an incredible record that doesn’t seem like it is losing its momentum anytime soon. Joshua has already come out in the press and said that he can secure legendary status overnight with a win against Klitschko, that’s no easy task though.
Watford born boxer Joshua has been argued by many to be Britain’s best heavyweight boxer, not a bold statement if you have ever seen him in the ring, but despite how highly he is praised, AJ will have to be on his A-game when he fights the former WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion; Wladimir Klitschko.
Klitschko is a true legend of the heavyweight division. With 64 wins out of his 64 fights, being the second longest reigning heavyweight champion of all time and dominating the division for almost a decade along with his brother; Vitaly Klitschko, during the “Klitschko Era”, there is no disputing that he is a legend of the division. However, at 40 years of age, Wlad is slowly but surely winding down his career and, while he is still a phenomenal boxer, his body isn’t what it was in his prime won’t let him compete at the very top level for too many more years so he’ll want to win back his titles before his form starts to dip.
Klitschko suffered a unanimous decision loss in his last bout against “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury in November of last year, but after a year out of the ring Klitschko is ready to try reclaim his heavyweight titles that are on the line against AJ in London.
As for my personal opinion on who is going to be taking home the gold, it’s not exactly a simple decision to make. On the physical aspect, both fighters have near identical reaches and are exactly the same height, so no advantages there. Klitschko will try to utilise his powerful jab that has caused the demise of many of the boxers he has faced. Wladimir has also had a year since his last fight which he has been training vigorously to reclaim his titles. On the other hand, AJ has cataclysmic knockout power has he has exhibited in all 18 of his professional fights, something the entire heavyweight division is afraid of whether they show that fear or not. Joshua will also be 14 years younger than the Ukrainian veteran, who will be 41 by the time the fight rolls around, something that goes very much in the Briton’s favour. Therefore I see AJ coming away with the victory at Wembley in April and become “a legend overnight”, though it certainly won’t be a walk in the park and possibly Joshua’s toughest bout yet.
Whoever it is being hoisted up with belts draped over each shoulder at the end of the night, 29th April is a date boxing fans should have on their calendar as potentially the biggest heavyweight boxing match in recent history.
By Harry Robinson