AJ believes Klitschko will come forward


Anthony Joshua expects Wladimir Klitschko to be better and more aggressive than his last fight when they meet on Saturday.

The IBF world heavyweight champion is preparing for a better version of Klitschko, whose domination of the heavyweight division was shattered by a shock points loss to Tyson Fury in November 2015.

Klitschko has not fought since that crushing setback cost him his three world titles but Joshua says the 41-year-old will be improved after the longest layoff of his career.

Joshua, 27, believes the Ukrainian will not be so reserved and lacking in ambition as he was when he met his fellow Briton Fury in Germany.

“Definitely not, that Klitschko just didn’t show up [against Fury],” Joshua told reporters at his Sheffield training base.

“Through a lot of people’s failures they learn, they study and they come back. A lot of great fighters in history have made mistakes and bounced back. I want to expect the best Klitschko so I’m saying he will definitely have learned from those mistakes he made against Fury.”

Joshua, who has stopped all 18 professional opponents, will not be trying to emulate how Fury ended Klitschko’s nine and a half year reign.

“Fury is completely different to me,” Joshua told reporters.

“I can’t box how Fury boxed and can’t expect it to be as simple as that for me. I just look at little parts of it, not the whole fight.”

A record-equalling 90,000 fans will be inside England’s national soccer stadium — the largest in Britain for a boxing event since 1939 — but Joshua insists nerves will not be a problem.

Joshua, whose parents are from Nigeria, has remained relaxed and polite in the two weeks leading up to the fight and the 2012 Olympic gold medallist has not shown any sign of tension ahead of the biggest heavyweight fight held in Britain. “Fighting is not just about aggression, it’s a way of life, it’s discipline and expressing yourself through difference channels,” Joshua told reporters.

“When I’m fighting and I’m in the gym I feel calm, I feel at peace. It’s the way I express myself and it’s probably why I find ways to be relaxed.

“Don’t get me wrong all of us face nerves when we fight and this is a stage I haven’t faced before, the attention, amount of people. I think if you can control your nerves in this big arena it makes a massive difference to the performance.

“But when it boils down to it, you get lost in the fight. You really do get lost in the fight. I don’t think it becomes an issue that there are so many people there once you are well engaged with your opponent.”

But the pair are unlikely to be involved in trash talking before the first bell.

The showdown has been animosity-free, with plenty of mutual respect, but Klitschko last week questioned Joshua’s motivation for saying he wants to become a billionaire through a series of megafights in the revitalised heavyweight division.

Joshua shrugged off criticism and say he will remain unrattled by the former champion’s mind games.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a billionaire, it’s an ambition, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high,” Joshua said. “Wladimir Klitschko was accused of carrying out fights to the 12th round to secure commercial revenue in Germany.

“Maybe he’s using that as a way of attacking me because he’s been in that situation before. He’s been accused of being too muscular because he used to gas out after five or six rounds coming up. It seems that everything he has gone through he’s trying to throw it back at the young champion who is coming up.

“I understand it. I study boxing, I see where he is coming from. I can see his angles. It is important to unsettle a fighter.”

But Joshua does not expect Klitschko to turn up in a Batman outfit this week, as Fury did for a press conference with the Ukrainian two years ago.

“If Klitschko does that I definitely know he’s lost the plot,” Joshua said laughing.


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