Wladimir Klitschko is confident Anthony Joshua will not be able to handle the pressure of being favourite and fighting in front 90,000 fans on Saturday.
Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will try and win back two of the three world heavyweight titles he lost to Tyson Fury in November 2015 when he challenges Joshua at Wembley Stadium in London.
Anthony Joshua insists he will not lose his cool when he steps out in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Mandatory challenger Hughie Fury has pulled out of his May 6 fight against heavyweight world titleholder Joseph Parker because of an undisclosed injury.
The Ukrainian, who reigned for nine and a half years until suffering a shock points defeat to Fury, says the pressure is all on Joshua — not him — in the front of the joint largest attendance for a boxing event in the UK.
Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), 27, defends his IBF belt for the the third time, with the vacant WBA title also on the line, in boxing’s biggest fight so far in 2017.
The Briton has stopped all 18 professional opponents since winning Olympic gold at London 2012 and will start favourite with the bookmakers against Klitschko, who is 14 years older.
“I’m comfortable because I don’t have any pressure to defend my titles or to break Joe Louis’ record,” Klitschko told reporters.
“I want to impress myself with a good performance, I’m obsessed with goals and all the pressure is in my opponent’s corner.
“He wants to become a unified champion so all the pressure is on the other side but not on me. I don’t need to defend my titles, I don’t need to break Joe Louis’ record.
“Of course there’s a lot of pressure on him. He needs to knock me out like he promised. He wants to become a billionaire. He’s performing at home and he needs to show what he’s capable of doing.
“All of this in a combination is tremendous pressure, unbelievable pressure.
“He can only judge from what he knows. He’s 27 years old and has had 18 professional fights, so his judgement is based what he knows.
“His promoter [Barry] Hearn Sr said it’s going to be a painful night for Klitschko. So Joshua has to deliver a painful night for Klitschko.
“What ever Joshua is worried about or nervous about I’m not worried about because I’m focused on me, me, me and my ego and my obsession.”
Klitschko, 41, refuses to confirm if a second successive defeat will send him into retirement after turning professional in 1996 following his Olympic gold triumph earlier that year.
“My world is very small right now, my time is ticking only to the 29th April, there is nothing else,” Klitschko said.
Klitschko says he is enjoying being the betting underdog for the first time since he knocked out Nigerian Samuel Peter seven years ago.
“I love it. It’s exciting and it’s great. I’ve missed it. I was strong as an underdog in a fight a long time against against Samuel Peter, who has the same background as Joshua from Nigeria.
“I was called a dead man walking by Peter’s promoter. As a challenger I love it.”