American Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder gave his thoughts on Saturday’s heavyweight blockbuster between undefeated IBF Champion Anthony Joshua and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko live on SHOWTIME® (4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT) from sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who won his WBC belt in January 2015 on SHOWTIME and has since made five defenses, will serve as an analyst for Sky Sports Box Office for Joshua vs. Klitschko.
The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship in front of record-setting 90,000 fans at Britain’s largest stadium.
Here is what Wilder had to say:
“There’s a lot of flaws that Joshua has, but Joshua is still young in the game as well. A lot of people look at Joshua and they’re going off of his physique and they’re going off of the hype that their countryman has brought to them,” said Wilder,
“If you really look deep down and soul search and look at his resume, with all of the guys he’s fought … that sometimes makes a person look busier than what he is. There’s a lot of flaws in all of us though, to be honest. Nobody will ever be perfect in the ring. We only try to be our best and that’s the only thing you should go off of.
“I am looking forward to this fight and I can’t wait. I want Klitschko to come in and fight. You can always be hyped for a big fight but it’s all going to boil down to what fighter is going to bring what to the fight. I think he’s ready and he’s going to show a lot of things. He’s going to teach Joshua a lot of different things in the ring, as well, and we’ll see if Joshua has any flaws or not.
“With Klitschko I definitely feel that the teachings of Emanuel Steward are lacking a little bit, but he’s not to blame. Steward was a very, very smart trainer. The things that he could see and the things that he can get in the heads of the fighters, that was unbelievable. He wasn’t a great trainer for no reason and that’s when I thought Klitschko was the best when he had Emanuel in his corner. Not only when he’s inside of the ring but when he’s on the outside too. Now, I just feel since he’s gone, it’s more about what Wladimir wants to do, not what his trainers see.
“With Joshua, he’s got the height and he’s got the power. In the heavyweight division, you don’t need skills. As long as you have the power, that’s what makes up the heavyweight division. You’re in the game once you’ve got that power….They’re going to have to play a forward fight to feel a little bit of each other out.
“If Joshua wants to be successful, he’s definitely going to have to move and take angles and be smart with Klitschko. Because Klitschko is very smart, he’s been around the block, he’s got an excellent jab, and he’s going to set Joshua up. His smartness is going to play in a lot.
“Joshua is not as flexible. I don’t think he’s super athletic and doesn’t have that much coordination because of the stiffness. But he definitely has a great shot in this fight and I’d love to see what happens, and hopefully everything comes through with having a mega-fight at the end of the year.
“I’m going to continue with my statement as I’ve been saying it. My heart is for Joshua, but my mind is for Klitschko. My heart is for Joshua because I would love to fight him – I think that would be a mega-fight. Even though Joshua is fighting Klitschko, people are still talking to this day about a Wilder and Joshua fight. It’s almost demanded. If this kid beats Klitschko it’s like the only fight he can have is me, because it’s been so demanded.
“My mind goes to Klitschko, because he’s very smart. People talk about age, but like I said, age can play an advantage too. Klitschko has seen every style there is…And when you see it again, you know how to handle it and adapt to it. You know what you got to do.
“He knew what he had to do against Fury, he just didn’t pull the trigger because he was scared of being punished. That was his fault. Now that’s a shame on him. Now he’s coming back for a second time for a title, so if he does it again, he’s going to need to give it up. For those reasons, my heart goes to Joshua but my mind goes to Klitschko.”
Joshua v Klitschko is live on Sky Sports Box Office from 6pm UK time this Saturday night. The fight is also live on Showtime in the US and RTL in Germany