Kevin Barry, trainer of WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, believes Wladimir Klitschko could find it tough against Anthony Joshua following a lengthy spell out of the ring.
Klitschko, who has celebrated his 40th and 41st birthdays since the last time he fought against Tyson Fury in November 2015, is a lengthening underdog against 27 year-old Joshua and Barry thinks the veteran showed signs of coming to the end during his previous defeat.
“I’ve noticed that with Klitschko, people respected him but also got tired of him. I think the fans now want to see a young lion come through and put the older guy into retirement,” Barry exclusively told World Boxing News.
“When I look at the last fight with Klitschko and Tyson Fury, Wladimir’s reflexes and his timing looked to be a thing of the past. It seemed his mind was willing but his body just wouldn’t react. Even though it’s only a very small thing – timing-wise, it’s a very big thing in results.
“I simply believe he couldn’t pull the trigger in that fight. We know that Tyson is a very awkward guy, a tall guy and someone that baited Klitschko but there were times there when he couldn’t let his hands go and couldn’t pull the trigger.
“I think once that sets in with father time you can’t get it back. Plus, seventeen months out has not helped Klitschko at all.”
On the event itself, which is set to have 90,000 fans on hand inside Wembley Stadium, Barry added: “I just think it’s a fight that the fans are interested in.
“Everybody has watched Joshua over the last couple of years as he exploded onto the scene and fight in front of massive crowds.”
Asked whether the prospect of Joshua fighting Parker should he be victorious on Saturday night will be in their thoughts post-fight, the respected coach replied: “It will be. We’ve just got to go out on May 6 and do our job, then we understand that there are some exciting fights and opportunities presenting themselves in the future.”
Parker defends for the first time against Romanian unknown quantity Razvan Cojanu next month on the back of Hughie Fury withdrawing through injury.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay