Klitschko hails Joshua as the best heavyweight talent in 25 years
All-conquering RING heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has singled out British contender Anthony Joshua as boxing’s next superstar, insisting the unbeaten 25-year-old is the most talented and promising fighter he has seen throughout his glittering career.
That is some accolade, given the Ukrainian has ruled the sport’s blue-ribbon division for nearly a decade and currently holds the IBF, WBO and WBA belts. Yet as he prepares to defend those in October against another undefeated Englishman, Tyson Fury, Klitschko has hailed fast-rising Joshua (13-0, 13 knockouts) as the man to watch.
Joshua’s power-packed ability is glaringly obvious as he continues his explosive charge toward the elite, destroying one opponent after another. However, when you add a charismatic personality and ruthless dedication to improve to the mix, the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner from Watford possesses all the ingredients required to become a modern-day legend, according to Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs).
“Through 25 years of experiences in training camps and with opponents, in that time, there is one highlight, one person who has the potential to be a real big star in boxing – not only inside the ring but outside of it too,” said the 39-year-old in an interview with BBC Sport this week.
“That person I am talking about is Anthony Joshua. He has the qualities that not many have had. Either they had good skills but not the strength or they had the strength but no good skills. Or they would be good in the ring but not outside it because their own life outside messed them up and actually became reflective of their sporting career.
“I think Anthony has all the tools to become a great person and a great champion inside the ring and, most importantly, outside it as well.”
Klitschko witnessed Joshua’s impressive array of skills firsthand last year when the Englishman was invited to join him at one of his pre-fight training camps. And he is not ruling out the possibility of going toe to toe with Joshua before he retires.
“He needs to improve and move forwards if we are talking about him being on my summit,” Klitschko said. “I think eventually that can happen but it will not be tomorrow or for my the next fight, as we know.
“But it will happen in the future if I’m still where I am today. You cannot pass me since I have been holding these titles for many years. If you want to get to the peak of my mountain, then you have to face me. That is why I am not excluding fighting Joshua.”
Next up for Joshua comes undefeated Scot Gary Cornish (21-0, 12 KOs) on Sept. 12 at the O2 in Greenwich, London, for the vacant Commonwealth title.
Harry Pratt is on Twitter @gharrypratt.