Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) will defend his IBF Heavyweight Title and fight for the vacant WBA Heavyweight belt against former champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) on April 29 at Wembley Stadium.
This promises to be a classic heavyweight bout between a representative of the new guard and one from the old guard. The 27-year-old Joshua has
17 knockouts in 17 fights and he is expected to lead the division in the future. Klitschko, 27, wants to get a big win at the twilight of his career and ending Joshua’s perfect record would do just that.
There are similarities between these two boxers, both have won Olympic Gold, Joshua in 2012 and Klitschko in 1996. Joshua has a tough win over Dillian Whyte, he won the IBF Heavyweight Title against the unbeaten Charles Martin and then defended it against Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina.
Klitschko lost his belt to Tyson Fury after a reign that lasted almost a decade. Many dislike his style but it can’t be denied that his record is impressive, and even against Fury, he pretty much didn’t absorb too much punishment, so he is well-preserved at 40 years old. Is it concerning that he hasn’t fought since November 2015? Not at all, I actually think that resting all this time might have helped him recharge physically and mentally and since he is coming off a loss, he should have a greater sense of urgency. Also keep in mind that he has beaten top heavyweights like Alexander Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev, so he is battle-tested.
Klitschko’s experience can be an X-factor here and he’s always had great conditioning ahead of his fights. Joshua is off to an impressive start in his career, there’s no doubt about it but Klitschko is on a different level than all the guys that Joshua has faced. There’s a significant gap that Joshua has to bridge somehow. Pinnacle sportsbook has odds for the fight, review them before you place some action
. Joshua is at -248 at this sportsbook while Klitschko is at +216 and the total rounds have been set at 8.5.
Can Klitschko thrive as far as power and moves to anticipate Joshua’s advances? Joshua’s power is real and he will get to test Klitschko’s chin, which could be dangerous. Also, his height and reach disadvantage against Fury proved to be costly because he usually likes to be an outside-fighter, keeping opponents at distance. Joshua also relies on his range, so that will help Klitschko here, although he is not used to back-and-forth bouts.
Joshua is pretty much a work in progress and 18 fights are a small sample size but the fact that he has a 100% knockout percentage evidences that his fist have dynamite. His shots have plenty of power and he has to find ways to land punches on Klitschko whenever he’s in range to punch.
One potential issue with Joshua is that his fights have never made it to Round 8 and he has never beaten elite heavyweights. Klitschko is the most accomplished heavyweight of his generation for
a reason and as mentioned before, he’s way more battle-tested.
The key to this fight for Klitschko is to find a way to impose his style, like he usually does. Part of his gameplan should be, use his jab more and anticipate all incoming offense. If he can still fight close to how he did at his physical peak then he has a great chance to win this fight, and at +216 odds I think it’s worth taking a shot on him getting another milestone win here, despite his age, inactivity and lack of size advantage.