The most unforgettable fights of Wladimir Klitschko were against Lamon Brewster in April 2004 and Corrie Sanders in March 2003, which he both lost by stoppage.
Although he was able to avenge his loss to Brewster in August 2007, it was his older brother Vitali who took up the cudgels for him by stopping the South African fighter in April 2004. Up to this day, Sanders is know for giving the Klitschko brothers their hardest fights and sacrificing his own life by shielding his daughter from bullets, which resulted to his death. What a gallant act!
Sanders and Brewster, who were small compared to the Klitschkos, proved that Wladimir can be knocked out. In fact, Wladimir has lost three fights by stoppage or knockout. His record is now 64-4 with 53 KOs.
So when Wladimir steps into the ring against Anthony Joshua, who has a record of 18-0 with 18 KOs, do not discount the fight ending in a stoppage in favor Joshua, who is staking his International Boxing Federation title. Both will also be contesting the World Boxing Association title.
But to write off Klitschko as a potential knockout victim of Joshua would be foolish, because the Ukrainian fighter reigned for nearly 10 years in the heavyweight division before getting decisioned by Tyson Fury in November 2015. He made 17 successful title defenses over his reign.
Klitschko may have learned his lessons from the Brewster and Sanders loses that he was able to refine his fighting style, but his size advantage also proved to be a deciding factor. So the big question is: How will Klitschko deal with a younger and strong fighter who is almost as big as him?
The 27-year old Joshua stands 6’5” and weighs about 235 pounds while the 41-year old Klitschko is 6’6” and approximately 245 pounds. Joshua’s reach is 82 inches and Klitschko 81 inches.
Joshua is entering the fight with horrifying power, and his stopping or knocking out all of his 18 opponents proves that.
When it comes to skills, Klitschko definitely has the edge and his jab is one of deadliest in the business. So to win against Klitschko, Joshua must nullify the jab of the Ukrainian.
Looking at the colorful history of the heavyweight division, there is a trend of younger and more ferocious punchers triumphing over the more experienced veterans, and this could be repeated when Joshua faces Klitschko. Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Sonny Liston are among the fighters who dethroned their opponents with sheer power. Will it be Joshua’s turn?
This is actually a very risky fight for Klitshcko, who looked unimpressive in his fight against Fury, who in turn looked lackluster in their fight.
The Klitschkos have also been criticized for taking on smaller fighters and there are many top dogs in the heavyweight division who are actually bigger than them. Maybe Wladimir should have just retired after losing to Fury.
But you have to admire Wladimir for taking the Joshua fight; for it shows how much grit he has to reestablish himself in the heavyweight division. Perhaps the Ukrainian fighter is no longer affected by his stoppage losses to Brewster and Sanders.
My personal take on this fight is Joshua has the edge and I see a changing of the guard.
Joshua has a lot going for him too besides having the size, youthfulness and power, because his trainer Rob McCracken oversees the Olympic boxing team, and counts Carl Froch, a three-time super middleweight (168 pounds) world champion, as one of his prodigies.
Wladimir always has his older brother Vitali in his corner, and nothing beats the bond between brothers who have been through many ring battles.
Eastern European fighters are also known for their unusual resiliency, and the younger Klitschko may still prove that fighters from Ukraine are not affected by father time.
The payday for both fighters is at least 20 million UK pounds, and that shows that is a real marquee fight. Better watch this fight!