Anthony Joshua

Photo by Lawrence Lustig

Heavyweight Champ Anthony Joshua Intends to Wake Up America


By Katherine Rodriguez

One has been champion for decades another barely began boxing less than 10 years ago.

IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 Kos) defends his title against former champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 Kos) on Saturday April 29 at Wembley Stadium in England. Showtime will televise the sold out event.

Joshua put on a boxing gloves less than a decade ago but in that time he captured the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and has ravaged every opponent in the professional side as well.

Last April 2016, the British heavyweight destroyed American heavyweight Charles Martin in less than two rounds to claim the title outright. He then defended against two more American heavyweights Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina.

Now he faces Ukraine’s Klitschko who held not only the IBF title but the WBO, WBA and IBO titles as well beginning in 2006 when he defeated Chris Byrd in Germany. That began a run of 18 consecutive defenses.

Joshua chuckles at the discrepancy in experience.

“If you were to tell me in eight years nine years, if you walk in the doors of that boxing gym you will be this, this, this, this, I would say yeah right,” said Joshua during an international conference call. “With Klitschko we don’t need to be trash talking. It’s an amazing fight for boxing.”

Despite a distinct disadvantage in experience, most experts give the 27-year-old Joshua the advantage because of physical assets, not mental or technical prowess.

Both fighters stand at 6’6” and will be looking at each other eye to eye.

Klitschko throughout his career has proven to be a technician who walks into every fight with a preconceived notion of his opponent and how to carry it out. Usually he uses his arm length to ward off entry into the firing zone or holds anyone coming in. Then he fires that long right cross like a wrecking ball and destroys all comers.

“Wladimir is technical. He tries to maneuver you pretty much to put you in position for his right hand,” said Joshua who spent a training camp with Klitschko years ago as a sparring partner. “He’s got a good chin. How long has he reigned 10 years?”

Klitschko, 41, wants one more shot before retiring.

The Ukrainian lost all of the heavyweight world titles to another British fighter Tyson Fury in November 2015. He wants another crack at the world championship.

Fury could have fought anyone but chose the ex-champion out of respect and for exposure to the heavyweight division. It’s been dormant for decades and he wants to wake up the world.

“It was bound to happen the division needed it. I’m worried about the industry. Let me get a crack in at the end of the day it’s only a fight,” Joshua says. “The opportunity came up and I said let’s get it crackin and as I say, it benefits everyone.”

Even America has woken up to this heavyweight clash despite neither having American ties.

Joshua took the fight because of the notice it would give him in the world of boxing and of course to American audiences. He eventually intends to invade America soon.

“In heavyweight boxing you need a serious partner,” said Joshua alluding to his next foe Klitschko. “There are the hot shots in America. I have to come out there for sure. America is the Mecca of boxing. That’s mega stuff that’s global boxing.”

Joshua hopes a win over Klitschko will stamp his visa for America.