Boxing News

PICK EM FRIDAY | ANTHONY JOSHUA VS WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO

josh_klit

Paul J Daley (TopClassBoxing) – Klitschko KO 6 Joshua – I would be a lot more confident in a prediction even at this advanced stage of Wladimir’s career if Emmanuel Steward was shouting instruction from his corner, that’s not to disrespect Johnathan Banks in anyways but Manny lived for this type of chess warfare.

Nevertheless, he sadly isn’t with us anymore and the duo of Klitschko and Banks have to find an angle to deter this wrecking ball which has so far smashed his way through eighteen opponents.

Only going as far as the seventh round on two occasions (Dillian Whyte / Domonic Breazeale) impressive to most whilst naysayers called for him to step up to fight someone with championship pedigree (please don’t mention Prince Charles Williams)

Enter stage right, Wladimir Klitschko, who’s championship pedigree can be traced back over a decade. “Dr Steelhammer” ruled the sports heaviest division with a steely stare, a breezeblock of a jab and a monster right hand, culminating into a body count of 53 from his 64 professional wins.

So I know if you are a more casual viewer to the sport, you immediately are asking “Why Him?” but a closer look will find a slower / older version of the dominant figure of yesteryear mix that with a sub-par (being generous) performance in his defeat to former world champion Tyson Fury, indicates a fighter with star value that’s ready for picking.

Pleasantries have been shared between the two men, no bad blood just tons of respect both on either side of the spectrum they share a lot of similarities, both Olympian Gold Medalists, both analyse fights down to its bare bones, each possess a great jab and both are able to put the lights out and tuck an opponent into bed early.

The multi-million dollar question is, who wins?

Well, the betting favourite will be Anthony Joshua which is reflected somewhat on this page as well as notable publications such as The Ring Magazine and Boxing News, so one-sidedly that on reflection It’s almost as if the world forgot about the destruction that Wladimir left behind in his time as champion or perhaps the individuals have already bought into the prospect of father time catching up with him.

Joshua we know is young, fresh and immensely powerful and my heart hopes that his hand is raised on the conclusion of the contest, but a nagging feeling as stayed throughout fight week that tells me that Klitschko still as more to give. like the hashtags he has on his clothing, he is #Obsessed in finding a route to victory one which evaded his grasp in his loss to Tyson Fury, where better to put the record straight than in front of 90,000 (sorry for bringing up the attendance Mr Froch)

I’m opting for the tried and tested but this is a prediction which is made more difficult in that we won’t know for certain if Klitschko’s time as come full circle, then you have the adage of looking at Joshua’s previous level of opposition which looks average I think we can all agree.

Anticipation is building as we await the fateful words of Michael Buffer to bring in the biggest fight in the UK’s history, LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMMBBBBLLLLEEEE.

John Wharton (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua TKO 5 Kliltschko – Who to pick? I’m sitting here typing this and even at this late juncture I’m still wavering, do I plump for the explosive power and faster hand speed of the young champion? Or do I opt for the experience and the power of Klitschko?

All the signs point to a victory for Joshua, his age, his hand speed and the fact that his opponent hasn’t been in the ring for almost eighteen months. Joshua has knocked out all of his opponents to date and you could argue that Wladimir has been slipping since he last impressed back in 2014 when he defeated Kubrat Pulev.

Faced with similar opponents in his heyday the Ukrainian would have jabbed, held and frustrated his way to a points decision as he smothered any danger that his opponent offered. Against Joshua however, Klitschko may find it difficult to employ these tactics.

For Joshua, Klitschko represents a huge step up in class, and even as a world champion his opponents have been if we’re being generous soft at best. The IBF kingpin’s sternest test was against Dillian Whyte and whilst the champion scored a highlights reel knockout, he was stunned and badly hurt in the second round.

The former champion is a master of mind games and is a fighter who loves to work out what is going inside his opponent’s mind. This backfired against Tyson Fury who refused to allow Klitschko to categorise him and it was a somewhat subdued and timid Klitschko who entered the ring that night in Düsseldorf. He will find Joshua somewhat easier to pigeon hole for this bout but will it be enough?

So here I am almost three hundred words later and I’m still only now edging towards one fighter, and even that is somewhat tentatively but I think overall the youth and superior hand speed of Joshua will see him prevail as he hurts and floors the former champion a number of times before Klitschko is rescued by the referee somewhere around the fifth round mark.

Sam Constantinou-Coulter (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua KO Klitschko – A truly intriguing matchup of the young, hungry rising star against the old, wily experience of a former champion.

Joshua has undeniable talent with fearsome knockout power, good speed and an excellent jab that has seen all 18 of his opponents as professional dispatched of in an emphatic manner.

Klitschko is a safety first fighter who dominated the heavyweight scene for over a decade with a ramrod jab keeping his opponents at range.

So many are predicting an easy win for Joshua and forgetting that Klitschko is a man who defended his world titles for years on end.

Klitschko is a clever fighter who will look to frustrate Joshua and take the fight into the championship rounds. He will look to nullify the Brit’s offensive work and slowly break him down.

Joshua, in contrast, will go out looking to land his jab as the set up to land his powerful right hand. He will be aiming to knock Klitschko out and send a major message throughout the world of boxing.

In terms of a prediction, I have to back Joshua by knockout but I do not expect it to be the easy task that so many are suggesting it be.

Steve Haigh (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua TKO 9-10 Klitschko – The biggest mystery of this fight to me is exactly how much left has Wladimir Klitschko to offer at the highest level.

At 41 years of age and without an outing in around 18 months alone is reason to doubt him against an up and coming champion of similar stature and keen to cement his own legacy

But adding to the situation Wlad looked grim last time he fought and lost his throne to Tyson Fury in an abysmal fight

If Klitschko can find a performance like against Kubrat Pulev where aggression paid dividends he has a chance to regain a portion of what was once his

Both men need to win the battle for centre ring from the off and establish the jab,whoever achieves this takes the initiative and can from that position look to assert dominance

Klitschko cannot let Joshua set a tempo and must offset any attempt, Likewise with Joshua who should let Wlad feel his power from the off  Klitschko has been stopped before and doesn’t like taking a shot to land his own.

I think the timing is perfect for Joshua and Klitschko is pretty fragile in comparison to years gone by

Dean Berks (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua TKO 8-10 Klitschko – It has to be AJ for me. In my opinion, he is the most technically proficient heavyweight since Evander Holyfield. The way he studies his opponents in the ring and how he continues to improve with each performance seem to belie his relative lack of professional experience, especially when compared to WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Whilst I expect Klitschko to pull everything out of the bag in what could potentially be his final fight, I don’t think he can absorb the power and accuracy of Joshua. In the toughest fight of his career, I expect Joshua to prevail between rounds eight and ten.

Lewis Taylor (TopClassBoxing)  – Klitschko KO 5 Joshua – I’ve been torn ever since this fight was made. However, three days before the fight, I am now siding with Klitschko. I hope Joshua wins, I want the belts to stay in the UK but there is an inner confidence about Wlad that leads me to sway to him. Adding to the fact that Wlad has had 29 world title fights and Joshua only 19 professional bouts. An intriguing matchup which sees two Olympic gold medalists pitted against each other. What really sways me to Wlad is his ability to control the pace of a fight with his smokescreen jab which sets up the right hand and devastating left hook that he possesses, something Joshua was caught with by Dillian Whyte in a British title fight back in December 2015. Also, Joshua does not move like Fury and has not tried to play mind games in this build up. This is a pure Boxing match and will be won on the night.

Richard Lewis (TopClassBoxing)  – Klitschko Dec 12 Joshua – A fight that has captured the public’s attention, selling out Wembley Stadium no less. The media darling current IBF World Champion against the former Heavyweight king, who reigned supreme in the division for 11 years with 22 wins along the way until his points loss to Tyson Fury in 2015.

I can see Joshua starting bright and looking to use his power to stop Klitschko early, but for me, Wlad will deflect a lot of these punches and nullify the early pressure and not make the same mistakes that cost him against Tyson Fury.

I think that he’ll use his effective jab and hold technique that served him so well in those 11 years as a unified world champion. As the fight progresses I see Klitschko frustrating Joshua and no signs of his 41 years catching up with him, as Joshua 14 years his junior gets taken past the 7th round for the first time in his pro career and to the judges scorecards after 12 close but hard fought rounds, which for me will see ‘Dr Steelhammer’s’ hand raised with the judges scoring in his favour and him becoming a three-time Heavyweight World Champion.

Anthony Joshua will come again and only get better for the experience. Roll on Saturday night.

Craig Morgan (TopClassBoxing) – Joshua TKO 6 Klitschko – Youth v Experience, In the highest sense. Klitschko has the obvious advantage in experience and achievements, being a unified world champion and the ring magazine no.1 heavyweight for so many years. The youth, enthusiasm and hunger, all favour Joshua, who will be looking to add the vacant WBA belt to his IBF title.

Joshua will be keen to impress his hometown crowd and put on a career-best performance, in the sternest test of his short career. Joshua is a massive puncher but Klitschko has learned to nullify these attributes, after having been knocked out early in his career and has adopted a defensive first approach.

Having been out of the ring for 18 months, since his loss to Tyson Fury and being 41 years old, it’s a tough ask to face a strong young lion like Joshua.

I expect Joshua to set a fast pace and make Klitschko push his body to a pace that he’s not comfortable with. If he’s able to push him back and not let Klitschko settle into a counter punching rhythm, it could end reasonably early.

On the flip side, if Klitschko is able to land his jab regularly and keep Joshua at arm’s length, it’ll be interesting to see how Joshua adapts to it and if he’s able to change his game plan. Weighing it all up, I’m going for a Joshua stoppage, before the 6th round.

Russell Bedford (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua TKO Klitschko– As many people are saying, it depends on which version of Wlad turns up. The untouchable or the unorganised. Fury toyed with him but I can’t see AJ doing that. This is the first ‘elite’ test Joshua has had so I could see him approaching the opening rounds much like Eubank Jr did when he faced Saunders. Sitting back just wanting to figure things out, with that in mind I think Wlad will slow as AJ builds up his confidence and we will see a late stoppage in AJ favour

Jonjo Finnegan (TopClassBoxing)  – Joshua TKO / KO 7-10 Klitschko – Klitschko has experience at the highest level and he is a very clever guy, he is 110% confident he’s winning this fight and if he boxes clever and keeps it long but doesn’t stand and trade then he can win on points or if he lands clean I don’t think Josh holds the best of shots, This was mirrored in the Dillian fight where he was sort of exposed.

On the other hand I don’t know if Klitschko can hold a beast like AJ off for 5 rounds let alone 12.Joshua won’t stop / KO him early I don’t think and I also

I don’t feel Joshua will TKO / KO him early and I also don’t believe AJ wins on points, it’ll be mid to late KO.

Danny McDonald (TopClassBoxing)  – Klitschko KO 10-12 Joshua – Since the fight got made I’ve said all along that Joshua will blow him away in 3 rounds but this week I’ve been changing my mind. I think the outcome of this fight is purely based on what Wlad will turn up? Has Fury finished him? as he spent too long out of the ring? We know how Joshua fights. If Wlad has anything left then this is going to be a very tough night for Joshua. I’m going to stick my neck on the line and go with Wlad by KO.

We know how Joshua fights. If Wlad has anything left then this is going to be a very tough night for Joshua. I’m going to stick my neck on the line and go with Wlad by KO.

Rob Day (RingNews24) – Joshua TKO Klitschko – Like Rocky Marciano vs Joe Louis & Mike Tyson vs Larry Holmes – boxing history shows us that father time catches up with Greats and the torch is passed on to the new generation. The question on Saturday, will be, is it that time?

I believe it is. Anthony Joshua has been primed and ready for this moment, while the ageing Wladimir Klitschko is battling to recapture past glory. I expect a cagey opening and then Joshua to start catching the Ukrainian. I don’t see Wladimir handling the power.

John Hoolan (Boxing Mad Man)  – Klitschko PTS / TKO – Joshua – There has been a lot written and said about the upcoming Anthony Joshua Vs Wladimir Klitschko fight. Some have said this is a “passing of the torch” fight, others that Joshua will finally become the name he should be, some have even suggested that this is when Klitschko cements his ATG status.

Is it that much of a “big deal fight”? Yes, of course, it is. It is for The IBF, IBO and WBA “Super” Titles. Basically, the winner can and most likely will call himself “the man”. Lineal title will still sit with Tyson Fury however, that will be passed to one of these two fairly quickly I feel. The days of Tyson Fury holding an HW belt are long gone in my opinion. That is a whole other topic though and one for another day…

The build up to this fight hasn’t been one of hatred, bullshit, piss and wind as we so often get (Haye Vs Bellew comes to mind). This fight hasn’t needed it. Both Klitschko and Joshua respect each other, the viewing public respect them and the boxing world as a whole is excited by this fight.

Interestingly on the “Gloves Is Off” show on SKY, shown the other night Joshua described himself as a Klitschko clone. I’m not so sure, there are similarities, that is for sure however Joshua still hasn’t learnt to move his feet, his head, or to move anything other than in a straight line. Klitschko once had these problems, changed his tact when needed and then ruled for 10 years. Can Joshua do the same? The legend Emanuel Steward helped Wlad, can Rob McCracken do the same for Joshua’s weaknesses? Time will tell. I’m not sure he can though…

I asked at the beginning will this be a test of boxing skill and ability, in answer to that question, I don’t think so. It will be like a game of aggressive chess. Klitschko will have learnt from being out thought and outboxed by Fury. Joshua will go looking for the KO as that’s what he does. Will one give up enough to the other in order to secure their aim?

My prediction is a Klitschko win via points, or possibly even a late stoppage. Yep, going against the grain here, however, that’s really my gut feeling.

Klitschko – “IF you beat me I will congratulate you WHEN I win, I will help you to come back”

The strength of Joshua should combat the holding and once Wladimir can’t keep the Brit at bay – it will be all over.

Jamie Sheldon (Cutman) – Joshua TKO Klitschko – Gotta fancy Joshua to do an early job on him, failing that could be an upset as I think after the loss to Fury he’s got a massive point to prove!

Darren Hamilton (Former British Champion) – Joshua TKO Klitschko – Very interesting because I believe this is Anthony’s biggest test and Klitschko is. Incident through the sparring they had, I see AJ taking his time and not starting fast like he usually does and losing a few early rounds due to height reach and know how, but later on, I see Klitschko slowing down and AJ stopping it late

Iceman John Scully (Trainer) – Joshua TKO Klitschko –  I like Klitschko and believe he keeps himself in great shape between fights and is a clean-living athlete but sooner or later the age will catch up to you. Boxers are competing at higher levels for longer periods of time but the fact is this is a man who has been a pro for over 20 full years. It would seem his time is up. He will give Anthony difficulty for a while but I just don’t see him denying Joshua for a full 12 rounds.

Sean Jones – Trainer – Joshua via KO in the Fifth

Ryan Evans – Former Professional Fighter – Klitschko

Dean Lackman – Joshua within 5

Jamie Evans – Joshua via points decision or late Stoppage

I've been in the boxing industry for over 15 years but been a fan for almost double that figure. I'm the proud owner of TopClassBoxing which continues to go from strength to strength as we strive to give fight fans a voice to be heard amongst the community. I've also had several articles published by reputable magazines and you can usually catch me around ringside.

2 comments on “PICK EM FRIDAY | ANTHONY JOSHUA VS WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO

  1. Pingback: PICK EM FRIDAY | ANTHONY JOSHUA VS WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO – WorldBoxingNews

  2. Pingback: PICK EM FRIDAY | ANTHONY JOSHUA VS WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO - BOXINGNEWS

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