Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: Fight preview

Joshua takes on Klitschko in the heavily anticipated 'Super-Fight', but who will leave as the unified world heavyweight champion?

Here we are, the long awaited ‘Super-Fight’ is upon us with Anthony Joshua defending his IBF World heavyweight title against heavyweight legend Wladimir Klitschko, with the two also fighting for the vacant WBA World heavyweight title.

The announcement for the fight was made on November 10; as soon as Joshua knocked out Eric Molina, promoter Eddie Hearn invited Klitschko into the ring to tell the world that he’d be taking on the Englishman next.

The build up has been respectful and dignified with both boxers being the epitome of professional throughout, a very refreshing sight given the amount of ‘smack-talk’ that many boxers believe they need to engage in to sell their fights. Not these two, they know that their boxing skill does the talking – even to the extent that Wembley Stadium sold out multiple times, now set to hold a record 90,000 spectators.

It’s certainly one of the biggest fights in British boxing history and, should he win, it sets Joshua up to possibly be a part of one of the biggest fight of all time, eventually – likely depending on Deontay Wilder.

Everyone’s heard the clichés by this point, it’s the young gun against the seasoned veteran, but all of that goes out of the window when the two step into the ring.

Here, we’ll be exploring what each fighter needs to do to win the fight, as well as try to actually predict this clash of heavyweight titans. We’ll also show you the undercard that’s stacked with Olympic talent and the time that the programme and big fight are scheduled to start.

Keys to victory: Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua demolishing Eric Molina in last fight

Stay off the line
Wladimir Klitschko likes to control his opponents in the ring, enforcing the jab to set them up for a follow-up cross. In doing so, the big Ukrainian will tag his opponent’s head to keep them in line; Joshua needs to revolt against this. He needs to keep moving around the former unified world champion, not get stuck in his crosshairs. If he can do that, not only will he avoid a great deal of punishment, he’ll also have more angles to apply some pressure of his own.

Almost disrespect Klitschko
The two have been nothing but gentlemen in the lead up to this fight, but that needs to be thrown out of the window when they enter the ring. If Joshua respects Klitschko too much in the ring, he’ll just be manipulated for the duration of the fight. He should look to deliver punishment as soon as the opportunity presents itself and be relentless if he chooses to box on the front foot.

Don’t let him get too close
Joshua’s challenger still possesses stacks of strength, power, and speed in those 41-year-old arms, with his reach being just one inch shorter than the Brit’s. If allowed to, Klitschko will get up close, deal thunderous, unblockable left hooks to Joshua’s head, and will use his upper body strength to literally shove Joshua around; it’s not just clean punches you need to look out for with Klitschko. So Joshua needs to stay at range until he’s worn down Klitschko enough to approach, catch him on the ropes, and then begin an assault of combinations.
Keys to victory: Wladimir Klitschko
Wladimir Klitschko toe to toe with Tyson Fury lands jab

Frustrate the young man
Being an incredibly strong and clinical young fighter, Joshua’s 18-fight professional career has seen him enforce a very similar strategy throughout: push on the front foot, lay down the heavy jab, punish with every punch, roll the combinations as they tire. Wladimir Klitschko needs to interrupt this, stay at range and let him know that he has a hard hit as well. Maybe taking a hit from a top-class boxer may rattle Joshua.

Keep the centre of the ring
Joshua’s never had a problem
of prowling around the ring, hunting down his opponents and grinding them into the ropes, and eventually onto the canvas. He is yet to spend more than a few minutes on the back foot in his professional campaign, so Klitschko should aim to hold the centre of the ring and make Joshua move around the outside and back to the corners. Quick and regular jabs to the head can help him do this, stopping the world champion from establishing a rhythm, as can some heavy hooks to the body if Joshua comes in too close early on.

Really test Joshua’s chin
Now, we have already gone through how Joshua has taken some big hits and recovered well, which proves that he’s got a stern chin. However, if sustained pressure was put on and Klitschko was able to dizzy the Watford man with a flurry of strikes, it could throw Joshua off of his game. Having said that, that sort of tactic could lead to a slugfest, which Joshua would almost certainly have the upper-hand in.