Undefeated heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), will look to make history and take another step towards unifying the division when he faces the legendary three-time heavyweight world champion, Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night.
Klitschko, 41, has a clear edge in terms of experience, but he is coming off the back of a tough defeat by Joshua’s fellow Englishman, Tyson Fury, and a layoff of almost a year and a half. Even so, he is a proven and skillful opponent who packs a lot of power in his punches and is renowned for his technical ability.
Joshua is the favorite, but Klitschko has been in tough fights before, so Joshua needs to follow these keys:
Look to finish early
It is not hard to find Joshua’s first assignment. He is the A-side, the favorite and the more powerful fighter. He has to impose his will early. He should look to pressure Klitschko and test his chin, which is considered to be weak and unable to withstand the punching power of a fighter like Joshua. Going for the knockout in the early rounds is the first and crucial key.
If Joshua is unable to finish the fight early, he cannot allow himself to become a fixed target and let Klitschko find the distance. If there is one thing Klitschko does well, it is converting the left jab jab into a heavy straight before immediately throwing a long right. A good option for Joshua is to avoid it by moving from side to side and punching from the angles.
Beware the counter
Klitschko has knocked out opponents who have tried to shorten the distance without weighing up the risks involved. Joshua has beaten everyone who has been put in front of him, but he has never faced an opponent with Klitschko’s skill. He should always expect a surprise counterattack from Klitschko, and he can’t afford to underestimate Wlad’s power.
Long distance call
When he is hustled and the first line of his defense is breached, Klitschko looks to clinch and spoil the fight. He does not like to be on the defensive at close quarters and is far more comfortable boxing from distance. Joshua must show tactical intelligence in these instances in order to force Klitschko to backpedal and catch him off balance. It is then that spaces will open up to launch his best shots and knock Klitschko out.
Worth the wait
Joshua is younger, faster, and heavier, and even though he has never gone beyond seven rounds, he should be ready to fight a full 12 without running out of gas. Klitschko is coming off a painful loss and a lengthy layoff — and he’s 41 years old. He will tire during the fight and will be unable to sustain the same rhythm. Joshua must be patient and avoid being overeager. If he is unable to finish things in the early rounds, his chance may come later in the fight.