Wembley will witness one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the year as Britain’s Anthony Joshua takes on Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a defense of his IBF heavyweight title, and where the vacant WBA (Super) heavyweight and IBO heavyweight titles are up for grabs for the victor.
Over 80,000 tickets have been sold for the heavyweight unification clash on the 29th April, with mandatory challenger Luis Ortiz set to await the winner.
The boxing world’s eyes will firmly be fixed on London next Saturday with large sums of money expected to be put behind Joshua as he is viewed the favorite for the fight at 10/27; punters may try backing Klitschko instead, with sites like Sportsbet.io having the veteran at 193/100 to win.
Unbeaten Joshua heads into the fight after a successful second defense of his IBF heavyweight title after knocking American Éric Molina out in the third round in December at the Manchester Arena.
In fact, in Joshua’s 18 fight professional career, he has never been taken past the seventh round, meaning his long-term resolve is yet to be tested to the maximum and may be an opportunity for Klitschko.
By contrast, 41-year-old Klitschko has been around the block numerous times and is a hardened warrior despite having famously lost his last fight to another Brit in Tyson Fury.
Next Saturday’s fight will be Klitschko’s first fight since that defeat to Fury back in November 2015 and 18 months out of the ring may prove costly.
However, with a 68-fight career history to Joshua’s 18, experience is clearly on Klitschko’s side.
Not much is given between the two in height and reach measurement. Klitschko boasts the smallest of height advantages at 6ft 6.5 inches to Joshua’s 6 ft 6-inch height, whereas Joshua takes the slight advantage reaching 82 inches as opposed to Klitschko’s 81.
No quarter is given in the body matchup but Klitschko does give 14 years up to Joshua in age and this is where he may fall short.
Anyone who has seen Joshua fight will have noticed a ferocity to the Englishman and an energetic pace, which has resulted in him in winning by way of knockout inside three rounds in all but two of his eighteen professional bouts.
Taming Joshua in the early rounds will be key for Klitschko if he is to return to former glories, ensuring he settles into a rhythm and does not allow Joshua’s power punches to find a way through. This, in theory, may give Wladimir a chance to take Joshua to the unknown entity of round eight and beyond.
If that happens then anything is possible and where Klitschko’s vast experience will suddenly come to the fore.
Anthony Joshua is expected to win and if he does he has the intention of creating a legacy. To do that, he must venture outside the UK and show the world he can cut the mustard outside his back yard.
No one can deny Joshua’s talent and the heavyweight division is there for the taking. Joshua has so far proved he is the man to take the mantle but to be an all-time great, fights like the level of Klitschko must become the norm.