Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Fight Picks: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will meet on Saturday night in a highly anticipated heavyweight battle at Wembley Stadium, London in front of a sell-out 90,000 fans, to contest Joshua’s IBF crown along with the vacant WBA strap. The bout will be broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office from 6 p.m. GMT and will be available in America on Showtime at 4:15 ET/PT, while HBO will show a delayed broadcast at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

It’s a fight of seismic proportions, pitting the hungry, strong, young lion with crossover superstar potential against the old guard, who still maintains his terrific condition, blessed with a high boxing I.Q. and fight-ending power, who dominated the division for nearly a decade.

Joshua, 27, first sprang to prominence winning gold at the 2012 Olympics. Since then, he’s been primed for stardom. He made the switch to the pros and has demolished all before him. He did have some trouble with Dillian Whyte in the fall of 2015, when he was hurt from a body shot. However, Joshua recovered and took out Whyte. Following Klitschko’s loss to Tyson Fury, the IBF belt became vacant and after Charles Martin claimed the vacant throne, the powers that be at Matchroom Boxing felt the time was right and made overtures to Martin, which were duly accepted. Joshua easily took out Martin and has since defended his throne twice, running his record to 18-0 (18 knockouts).

Klitschko is 14 years older than Joshua at 41. He gained notoriety having won gold at the 1996 Olympics. After running into a speed bump – a TKO loss to Ross Puritty – two years into his pro career, he went on to win the WBO title. However, a bad spell in 2003 and 2004 (comprised of stoppage losses to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster, respectively), looked to have curtailed a once-promising career and relegated him to the sidelines as an also-ran. To his immense credit, Klitschko re-calibrated his fragile state of mind with the late, great Emanuel Steward, who helped mold him into the dominant heavyweight of his era. All told, he made 18 defenses over a period of nine years and seven months before he was stunningly upset by Tyson Fury. Although they were scheduled for a rematch, it never came to pass due to Fury’s mental health. Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) has been inactive since.

In the run-up to the event, Joshua and Klitschko have been highly respectful of each other and there isn’t any animosity between them, which is best illustrated in SKY Sports promo: “The Gloves are Off.”

Online gambling group lists Joshua as a 2/5 (-250) favorite while Klitschko is priced at 2/1 (+200). polled 30 boxing insiders for their picks:

Eric Bottjer, Roc Nation Sports matchmaker

Anthony Joshua KO Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua by knockout. Does Klitschko have a chance. Of course, as Joshua, in a perfect world for him, is two-to-three fights from an event of this magnitude. Is there precedent for a Klitschko win? Yes. A 42-year-old Larry Holmes beat an 18-0 former Olympic gold medalist in Ray Mercer in 1992. However, Mercer did not have the size and skills of Joshua. And while Joshua ideally needs a couple of more bouts, he has been on the big stage as an amateur and a pro and should get to Klitschko after enduring some rough patches.

Lucian Bute, former IBF super middleweight titlist

Anthony Joshua TKO 5 Wladimir Klitschko: I think Joshua is on a roll and the fight will be explosive early. Klitschko will have some moments early but Joshua will TKO him around the fifth.

Robert Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker

Anthony Joshua UD 12 Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua vs. Klitshcko is a very interesting fight, not so much for an exciting fight but more so for the timing of the fight. You have the future of the heavyweight division versus the former champion that dominated for so many years. The question is: Has it come at the right time or not? Is Anthony ready or not? Can he overcome the tricky style and the defensive style that Wladimir brings? Huge event and hopefully turns into a fun fight for the fans. I do see the passing of the torch; Anthony Joshua is the total package and unless Wladimir brings an offensive style in this one, which I don’t think he will. I see Anthony Joshua winning a clear unanimous decision.

Cameron Dunkin, boxing manager

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: I think Anthony Joshua, it’s his time. There’s guys that get to the door and they don’t walk through it and I just think he’s a guy who’s going to walk through it. I think he’s a guy who takes care of himself. He’s in tremendous condition. He’s very smart. He focuses. He knows what he’s doing. He seems to knows where he’s going. I don’t know a lot about him but everything I’ve ever seen, I love. I think he’s going to get it done; he’s one of those guys who looks like a winner. I think Klitschko’s slow and he always has a chance to hit you on the chin. He’s got a punchers chance but you know what that means in boxing. I think he’ll find a way to get it done, one way or another, whether he can reach Klitschko and tag him or whether he just boxes him with his speed, being smart. I don’t know how he’ll do it but I just think he’s a guy that gets it done.

Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: I am going to have to go with Joshua. He is young, fresh, just as big as Klitschko and completely unafraid of him. Meanwhile, Wladimir has passed his 40th birthday and has been out of the ring for a very long time. That is a recipe for an upset, if that is what one would call a Joshua win. What are the betting odds? It would not seem to me to be an upset at all if Joshua retains his title.

Jeff Fenech, former three-division world titlist

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: I think Joshua’s going to win because of his youth. I think Klitschko’s been an amazing fighter but there’s a time when you’ve got to pass the baton on. I think Joshua will be a little bit hungrier. When you’ve achieved like Klitschko, the hunger’s not the same. You can say you’re hungry but you lie. When you’ve had so much success, it’s different. I just believe Joshua’s going to be that much more hungry and he deserves to be the champion. I believe, if he wants to and works hard enough, he can get the stoppage but that’s up to Joshua. If Joshua is as hungry and keen to be heavyweight champion that I think he should be, he could do that.

Norm Frauenheim, The Ring/

Anthony Joshua TKO 6 Wladimir Klitschko: It’s still hard to judge just how good Joshua is. That question will continue to be there after Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko can teach the young heavyweight a lot of things but the lesson plan won’t include instructions on how to deal with defeat. Klitschko just turned 41; he’s been idle for 17 months. Time is moving in favor of Joshua and against Klitschko. Too simple? Maybe. Maybe Klitschko can establish his jab, land a few big rights and take Joshua into rounds he’s never seen. Joshua has never gone beyond the seventh. He hasn’t had to. With his youth, energy and power, he won’t have to against Klitschko either.

Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest/

Anthony Joshua KO 4 Wladimir Klitschko: Ever the chess player, aging former champion Wladimir Klitschko does not like to be aggressively attacked in a boxing ring. Anthony Joshua is a new champ with power in his fists and youth on his side. This is (Mike) Tyson-(Larry) Holmes redux. Anthony Joshua by KO in four. Checkmate. All hail the new King of Watford.

Sean Gibbons, Zanfer Promotions matchmaker

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Anthony Joshua will win a decision or late stoppage. He might have to get off the deck once or twice but his athleticism and youth should pull him through to victory.

Brad Goodman, Top Rank Promotions matchmaker

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua-Klitschko is very interesting. We just don’t know what Klitschko has left and we don’t know if Joshua is ready for that next level. If it was the Klitschko from a few years back, it’s a very difficult fight for Joshua because of that Klitschko style but my feeling says it’s not there anymore and Joshua, even still being very limited in certain areas, will get the job done. I just think he’s getting Klitschko at the right time and I think with a win like this, and a few more wins, Joshua can become something special.

Tom Gray,

Anthony Joshua KO 3 Wladimir Klitschko: As much as this prediction could barely be more decisive, I’ve really struggled to pick a winner. Joshua is going up a bundle of levels here and Klitschko is infinitely more experienced. The Englishman has never had to contend with such an educated left jab and Klitschko is a master at judging distance. His losing performance against Tyson Fury was awful but this is a completely different fight. Joshua doesn’t have Fury’s foot movement or the significant height and reach advantages he possessed. What happens if Joshua can’t reach the target? Can he close the distance and get off? In the end, though, I just think Klitschko’s age and inactivity will prove too much to overcome in the face of such a monstrous puncher. Something is sure to land, right? If I’m wrong and this fight goes into the second half, then Joshua is being taken to school.

David Greisman,

Anthony Joshua TKO Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua looks to have the goods but is largely untested. Klitschko long ago proved that he belonged, that he wasn’t as chinny or vulnerable anymore but the problem is that time is catching up with him. This is an appropriate time for a passing of the torch, with Klitschko losing more crushingly than he did against Tyson Fury.

Lee Groves,

Anthony Joshua TKO 8 Wladimir Klitschko: History does not speak well of over-40 fighters coming off long layoffs to win titles against younger, stronger, hard-hitting champions (although it did happen for George Foreman against Michael Moorer). Klitschko is coming off the worse performance of his career against Tyson Fury and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a vintage performance. Joshua will be buoyed by the support he’ll receive from most of the 90,000 that will assemble in Wembley and he has the advantages in size, speed, reach and youth. Most crucially, he appears to have the poise of an emerging monarch and I believe he’ll show the world that he’s ready to become the next “man” in the heavyweight division by taking the torch from the one who held it for more than a decade.

Andreas Hale,

Anthony Joshua UD 12 Wladimir Klitschko: It’s already been proven that matching physical traits with some boxing ability will give Wladimir Klitschko trouble, as evidenced by Tyson Fury. Joshua is not only identical in height and reach but his skill set could prove to be very troublesome for the former champion. As long as Joshua is able to avoid being on the wrong end of Klitschko’s jab and get inside, this could be a long night for Wlad. It’ll all be dependent on how Joshua chooses to approach the fight because Klitschko is going to do as he always does and set everything up through that jab. Joshua is a better boxer than just about everyone Klitschko has faced in the past half-decade and should be active enough to win this fight by a clear, yet still somewhat competitive, unanimous decision.

Ricky Hatton, two-division world champion

Anthony Joshua KO Wladimir Klitschko: I’m going for Joshua by KO in the middle rounds. Klitschko hasn’t fought for a while since he got beaten by Fury and his recent form hasn’t been great. That said it’s the heavyweights. it only takes one punch. Joshua seemed to have a bit of a wobble with Dillian Whyte and he’s not as experienced as Klitschko but I’m sticking with Anthony. I just think that the timing is right for him to stop Klitschko.

Gary Lockett, boxing trainer

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua looks the real deal. He’s young, hungry and doing everything right, so you’d have to go with him for the victory. However, it won’t be easy against a fighter like Wlad, whose jab and all-around experience will make things difficult. I’d say Joshua but it won’t be an easy fight.

Duke McKenzie, former three-division world champion

Anthony Joshua TKO 5/6 Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua vs. Klitschko. There’s a new kid on the block. Anthony Joshua is too young, ambitious, strong and technically better than his rival. The doubters will say he’s never been hit because he’s knocked everyone out. Dillion Whyte hurt him and he responded very well. Sometimes contenders will give you a harder fight than a champion; they’ve nothing to lose. Klitschko is a proud man but pride won’t win this fight. It’s pointless him throwing “Don’t hit me” punches. He has to stand and fight but that’s not his style. I think Klitschko’s corner will pull him out of the fight after five or six one-sided rounds.

Jolene Mizzone, Main Events matchmaker

Wladimir Klitschko late KO Anthony Joshua: Klitschko (by late knockout) – I may be the last person that still needs to see more of Joshua. If he beats Klitschko, he will then convince me.

Diego M. Morilla,,

Anthony Joshua KO 10 Wladimir Klitschko: After watching Wlad looking woeful against a way-below-average Tyson Fury in one of the dullest heavyweight title fights in recent memory, I have no problem imagining Joshua wearing down the Ukrainian during the second half of the bout, after a rocky start to pile up enough points to win decisively, or perhaps score a late stoppage. Wlad may still have what it takes to make it interesting for a few rounds but it’s clearly Joshua’s time and I can’t see him losing sight of how important this win will be for his career looking ahead.

Marty Mulcahey,

Anthony Joshua PTS 12 Wladimir Klitschko: A really difficult choice and if you could combine the youth of Joshua and experience of Klitschko, you may have the perfect heavyweight. I am going with speed and youth in this matchup, as Joshua should have the reflexes and agility to escape or evade any traps Wladimir sets. Most Wladimir Klitschko fights play out at range and, for a change, it will aid the equally big Joshua here, who should see all the punches coming and evade or roll with them. The long layoff for Klitschko may play a role as well. Never a quick starter, it may be four lost rounds in before Klitschko finds his footing. I see the early rounds going to Joshua; a mid-rounds rally puts Wladimir back in the hunt but he ultimately fades in the final two rounds, marking the start of a new era at heavyweight.

Joseph Parker, WBO heavyweight titlist

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Hard one for me. Klitschko’s experienced and driven more than ever. Joshua’s powerful and hungry with age on his side. I’ll lean towards Joshua but you never know what can happen.

Harry Pratt, Express Newspapers

Anthony Joshua TKO 11 Wladimir Klitschko: Wow, this is such a hard one to call with any degree of certainty because Joshua is still a relative heavyweight novice, albeit a mighty fierce one, while Klitschko has more experience than any fighter needs, albeit weighed down by his humiliating defeat to Tyson Fury. That fight, of course, save for the potential psychological damage, has little bearing on what might happen against Joshua. The young undefeated titleholder from England will not be relying on or attempting to run rings around the Ukrainian. Yes, there may well be some initial sparring and weighing up the opposition but thereafter we have to expect Joshua to turn to his power. If he does, and lands, then he wins inside the distance. The more I consider the battle ahead at Wembley, the more I favor the home favorite. As long as he can keep calm amid the frenzied atmosphere, he wins with a late stoppage – or a unanimous decision. Then again…

David Price, heavyweight contender

Anthony Joshua KO Wladimir Klitschko: A couple of months ago, I’d probably have thought Klitschko’s experience and determination to come back from the defeat against Tyson Fury and also the fact Joshua has yet to really be put under pressure and take numerous big punches in a period of time in the fight, if Klitschko can do that, it’s going to test him. But that said, I think Joshua’s youth – he’s got the better punch variety but it’s going to be interesting whether Joshua can switch tactics. I’m of the opinion Joshua’s going to win the fight and I think he’ll win by stoppage and, when he does, I think he’ll be stamping down that he is the real deal.

John J. Raspanti,, Ringside Boxing Show, co-author of “Intimate Warfare”

Anthony Joshua TKO 9 Wladimir Klitschko: Out with the old and in with the new. Wladimir Klitschko, the former heavyweight champion of the world is 41. Anthony Joshua, the reigning IBF titleholder, is 14 years younger. Klitschko hasn’t been in the ring since losing his titles to Tyson Fury in late-2015. He was scheduled to fight Fury again but the rematch never happened due to Fury’s drug and mental issues. That’s quite a layoff for an older fighter. Joshua knocked out Eric Molina five months ago. He’s won all 18 of his professional fights by knockout. He’s green but powerful. Klitschko obviously has a huge edge in experience (68 fights) I see a competitive fight heading into the later rounds. Klitschko will work behind his powerful jab and occasional right. He’ll hold Joshua and frustrate him. He’ll test his chin as well. Joshua will stay patient and look to land something significant. That will happen late in the fight.

Cliff Rold,

Anthony Joshua KO Wladimir Klitschko: There’s a gnawing at the back of the mind that says Joshua isn’t ready for this. He’s faced nothing close to a real contender and now he’s fighting the most accomplished heavyweight, aged or not, since Lennox Lewis. Klitschko is still the biggest puncher in the class and Joshua’s chin remains a question mark. That said, Joshua’s size, aggression, power, and youth are too hard to pass up here. Klitschko has never been a counter-puncher. He leads and he holds. He couldn’t do either against the tricky Fury and Joshua has the tools not to let him. Going with the arrival of the new wave here.

Michael Rosenthal, THE RING Magazine editor

Anthony Joshua KO 7 Wladimir Klitschko: I think Anthony Joshua’s style – aggressive, relatively stationary, power-oriented – is a better fit for Wladimir Klitschko than the styles of Bryant Jennings and Tyson Fury, who stick and move. That’s one reason I give Klitschko a chance of winning this fight. The problem for Klitschko is that he’s 41 and hasn’t fought for about a year-and-a-half, which is a particularly long layoff for a man his age. The Klitschko of even five years ago might’ve jabbed his way to victory in this fight. This version of Klitschko probably no longer has the physical tools to cope with Joshua’s arsenal.

Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/ President

Anthony Joshua KO 10 Wladimir Klitschko

What’s the saying about Father Time? You can’t outrace it and certainly can’t beat it. Wladimir Klitschko, despite what some detractors might say, is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He ruled the heavyweight division for a decade, not losing a fight in 11 years. But the stone-cold, hard facts are these: Klitschko is the past. Joshua is the present of the heavyweight division. Klitschko is 41 and certainly showed it, at times, in his ugly loss to Tyson Fury 16 months ago. Joshua is 27 and last fought five months ago. Joshua is simply faster, more aggressive and far more dangerous to someone like Klitschko, at this stage of his career. It will be fun while it lasts. Boosted by 90,000 screaming Brits at Wembley Stadium, Joshua will be fired up to put on a show. He may have the perfect foil in the aged former champ.

Kostya Tszyu, former undisputed junior welterweight champion

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Joshua is a big puncher and he’s a similar size to Wladimir. It will be a great fight. The inactivity of Wladimir Klitschko may play some role and he’s not young anymore. When you’re not young, you don’t have the same hunger. I lean towards Joshua but you know what? Sometimes experience and the wisdom can play some role. Joshua is a big puncher but I don’t know him mentally. I don’t know how hard he’s trained, how the preparation is going. Lots of little issues can play a big role in the end. I never pick but probably the hungrier guy, nothing against Wladimir because he’s done a great job in his career but probably the younger, hungrier wolf can do better things. If it’s going the distance, I’ll probably believe Klitschko will do the better work but if Joshua can land properly, it will be over.

Dillian Whyte, heavyweight contender

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: It’s a good fight but I just think, in boxing, it’s all about timing. If (Tony) Bellew had fought (David) Haye six or seven years ago, David Haye would have killed him but if you pick the fight at the right time, Bellew ended up beating Haye. Joshua’s fighting Klitschko at the right time. Klitschko lost to Tyson Fury, coming off close to two years since his last fight, and he’ll be 41. How much time can you roll the clock back? I think timing is against Wladimir and he might lose but you never know. These guys are professionals and he looks after himself. He might be able to roll the clock back and surprise us. He’s very experienced and he does all the fundamentals well, so let’s see if he can do something spectacular. Joshua is very beatable and he’s a novice in the heavyweight division. Wladimir is very experienced. Both men are very similar in mindset and fighting styles. One’s just a bit younger. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

Michael Woods,,, Everlast podcast “TalkBOX”

Anthony Joshua to beat Wladimir Klitschko: Klitschko can get his body into a majestic shape for his fights still but, inside, where you can’t see, the cells and the tendons and the nerve firings and all that stuff…To me, it looks like Father Time has been knocking on Wladimir Klitschko’s door, the last couple years, more insistently. He didn’t look great in beating Bryant Jennings in April 2015 and it was more of that, but worse, against Tyson Fury seven months later. Wlad went 52-231 over the course of 12 dreadful rounds, allowing Fury to snag his titles. So…has a year-and-a-half off helped Wlad? Possibly. Maybe he merely needed a break. I’d guess – and it’s all guessing till we see on fight night – that aging has caught up with Wlad. He’s 41. And the brain can be saying, “Punch!” and the body can respond by saying,“No!” The younger and fresher and stronger lad Joshua should continue the theme and help convince Klitschko to join his big bro and peel off into vocational Plan B.



Final tally: 291 in favor of Anthony Joshua to win Saturday’s gigantic heavyweight showdown against Wladimir Klitschko.







Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright






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