Saturday marks one of the biggest heavyweight boxing fights in recent times and here are five reasons why Anthony Joshua will beat Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua’s rise to the top of the heavyweight division is almost complete. Standing in his way on Saturday will be Klitschko.
I predict that come Sunday morning, Joshua will still be undefeated and will be in possession of both the IBF and WBA heavyweight belts.
Thereafter, Jospeh Parker (WBO title holder) and Deontay Wilder (WBC title holder) will be next on his hit-list.
Here is why.
Age ISN’T just a number
Joshua is 27-years-old. Klitschko is 41-years-old. The former’s body is stronger, faster and more powerful than the latter’s. Of that there can be little doubt.
And the significance of the 14-year age difference cannot be underestimated. Yes, Klitchscko has 40 more professional fights than Joshua but I would rather be younger and more able than wiser and smarter.
Some might point to George Foreman’s victory over Michael Moorer to become IBF and WBA heavyweight champion back in 1994 at the age of 46 as evidence that age IS just a number.
However, I do not believe that achievement holds relevance in this day and age where strength and conditioning has taken on a far more scientific approach than ever before.
Athletes today, for the most part, operate at optimal efficiency. Joshua’s 100 per cent will be superior to Klitschko’s 100 per cent.
Joshua holds the psychological edge
What goes hand-in-hand with the physical benefits of Joshua being far younger than Klitschko, are the mental benefits of Joshua having his entire career ahead of him. Defeat on Saturday would be disappointing but not career ending for Joshua.
On the contrary, Klitschko’s brother, Vitali, has already stated that if the 41-year-old loses, it would most likely spell the end of his time in boxing.
Consequently, one can expect Joshua to be looser, freer and more relaxed while Klitschko will surely be restricted by the pressure of doing battle with his career on the line.
Joshua’s knock-out ability
For a fighter whose only mode of victory in professional boxing has been via knock-out, loose, free and relaxed is the perfect mental space to be in.
Joshua has 18 fights to his name and 18 victories that have all come about as a result of his opponents hitting the canvas. A brief review of the final moments of all his wins reveal just how much damage this guy’s fists can cause.
Klitschko has only won via knock-out in 78 per cent of his bouts. He is far more of a tactician than a knock-out artist and will most likely look to out-point Joshua.
I struggle to see that happening. Couple the relatively relaxed frame of mind Joshua will be in with his immense force, and I just can’t see how Klitschko will live with him for 12 rounds.
Joshua knows Klitschko better than Klitschko knows Joshua
Not a huge amount has been made of the time Joshua spent in Austria as a sparring partner for Klitschko as the Ukrainian prepared to face Kubrat Pulev in late 2014.
The dynamics of that relationship are interesting. Klitschko’s focus was on Pulev, Joshua’s focus was on Klitchsko. I believe that it is fair to assume that Joshua will have gained far more insight into Klitschko than vice versa.
And that could well prove to be decisive. Having got a feel for how Klitschko throws punches and deflects them, Joshua will have an idea of what to expect. In boxing that is huge.
To hammer home that point, in Ricky Burns’ recent light-welterweight defeat to Julius Indongo, the Scot said the Namibian hit and moved in a way he could never have imagined and so never trained for.
Joshua will have no such problems after the weeks he spent studying Klitschko. Klitschko might well have lost this fight 13 years ago when he opted to hire Joshua as a sparring partner.
Home crowd advantage
Klitschko gave up his bargaining power in the negotiations for this fight when he succumbed to Fury in 2015. A consequence of that was Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, assuming control of a lot of the details pertaining to this meeting.
The fight will be fought at Wembley Stadium which is located not only in the country that Joshua is from but also in the city that he grew up in.
Joshua has boxed before at Wembley Stadium, Klitschko hasn’t. In fact, he has only ever fought once in the United Kingdom.
The support Joshua gets in his home country is wildly loud and passionate. He will draw great energy from his people.
Klitschko, even for all his experience, will do extremely well to be unaffected by the crowd.
In the unlikely event that the fight does go the distance, the judges decision could easily be influenced by the sway of the gregarious home support.