Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF title and the vacant IBO and WBA world championships.
The British sensation Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his professional opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, Klitschko, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as Heavyweight world champion.
Joshua vs. Klitschko has officially sold out Wembley Stadium with a record-setting 90,000 tickets sold.
Will the young gun snatch the biggest victory of his career, or will Klitschko remind everyone that his illustrious career is not finished?
Read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff predictions for Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko and let us know who you think will win.
Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2017
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Liam Brady, Graphic Designer/Staff Writer
Both fighters are Olympic gold medalists, though, in my opinion, Wladimir Klitschko is of the higher standard.
Klitschko has a stereotypical Eastern European style, which is an upright posture, with minimal dynamism or punch variety. Though, what Klitschko doesn’t have in punch variety, he makes up for by executing the small amount of punches in his arsenal, namely the jab and right hand, with perfect timing and technique.
This is aided by his poise and balance, which stems from his boxing education as an amateur.
In terms of tactics, I do not think Anthony Joshua outboxes Klitschko. He does have the advantage in speed, and punch variety, though he is more raw and less refined than his opponent. As a consequence, he can overstretch with his punches, whereas Klitschko is masterful with gauging distance, which is facilitated by his jab.
Moreover, he is comfortable with, and well balanced at, attacking and defending from long range.
I genuinely think Joshua’s best bet is to get Klitschko out early. He needs to maraud him on the inside, and attack mostly from close range, using his speed and combinations to maul Klitschko. Or be unorthodox, à la Tyson Fury, and be on the move constantly, while using angles, and speed, to beat Klitschko to the punch.
Either one of these methods will offset the rhythm of Klitschko, which is crucial, because once he gets in his rhythm, he is a difficult boxer to topple.
Though, I do not think Joshua has the stamina to be on his feet constantly, or to be the aggressor. Furthermore, Klitschko is very good at clinching and smothering his opponent’s work, which may dissuade Joshua from trying to maul him on the inside. He runs the risk of either being tied up once he is close, or being countered with a shot or two while trying to breach Klitschko’s jab, in order to get inside. This will be discouraging for Joshua, as well as exhausting.
As a result of Klitschko nullifying any inside fighting, this will play into his hands massively as the fight progresses. Joshua’s perceived inability to sustain a high pace means his work rate will decrease, and with Klitschko rebuffing his inside attacks, he will revert to the less gruelling tactic, which is to box, so he can pace himself over 12 rounds. But, Klitschko is a superior boxer, methodically, meaning he will have Joshua within his ideal range, enabling him to pick him off with his jab and right hand. And don’t forget the sneaky left hook, too.
Facing someone as illustrious as Klitschko in only three and a half years as a professional is mightily impressive, but I foresee the veteran using his experience and skill to nullify Joshua’s strengths, and thus make him fight the fight Klitschko wants.
I see Klitschko winning comfortably, based on the aforementioned reasons, and if pressed, I would not rule out a late stoppage if Klitschko totally dominates the fight at long range, causing Joshua to be dumbfounded. I might be going against the grain here, but I am picking Klitschko over my countryman. A great fight, with exciting narratives, nonetheless.
Mike Burnell, Staff Writer
When I learned that this fight had been signed my inner Rocky geek immediately regurgitated a quote from Rocky 4 “…Creed is over the hill and the Russian hasn’t fought anyone!”
Obviously, Anthony Joshua isn’t Russian, nor is Wladimir Klitschko an American former champion, but you get the idea.
We will be treated to an interesting generational clash on April 29 as young, undefeated champion Joshua takes on the 41-year-old veteran, former longtime champion Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and IBO straps in Wembley Stadium, London England.
The location certainly serves as a hometown fight for the popular, young Olympic gold medalist Joshua while the clear, obvious advantage in experience goes to Klitschko who has had more title fights than AJ has total professional matches.
Prior to Klitschko’s embarrassing loss at the hands of Tyson Fury it would have appeared that he had overcome some of the issues revealed in losses to Lamon Brewster, Ross Purity and Corrie Sanders that seemed more mental than physical.
On paper it seems that Klitschko should win easily, however this is boxing, not a math equation. While Dr. Steelhammer has massive experience in big fights, he finds himself in a position that he has not encountered in a long time–being the challenger.
Without writing an entire article, I reluctantly pick the 6’6″ Anthony Joshua to pick up the win via decision that has more to do with Klitschko’s psyche more than conditioning or ability.
CJ Halloran, Staff Writer
I got Anthony Joshua. He’s got the best power from a Heavyweight I’ve seen in awhile and I see his youth being the deciding factor.
Joshua by late stoppage.
Brandon Glass, Staff Writer
On one hand, Wladimir Klitschko has the experience. On the other Anthony Joshua has the youth.
I’m going with Joshua–here is why:
Despite his 11-year reign, Wlad has two flaws. Early in his career he was known for having a questionable chin. Emanuel Steward helped conceal it with better technique.
The other is that he has a tendency to be overly patient. Not to mention, he was just naturally bigger than most of the top Heavyweights of his era.
Joshua is the same height and has an inch reach advantage. I think Joshua presses, which the aggression alone can win rounds by most standards, especially if you consider Klitschko’s fight with Fury. If AJ catches that chin, it could be a short night.
But in the same vein, we haven’t really Joshua tested at this level. Joshua’s main flaw is that he hasn’t faced any of the other title holders, or more notable Heavyweight contemporaries. I guess Dillian Whyte and Olympian Dominic Breazeale are notable, but they’re not as prominent as Luis Ortiz, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
Conversely, Klitschko has a hammer of a right hand, so he could potentially knock Joshua out as well if he asserts himself. I just doubt that he will, considering how comfortable he was waiting for openings during his long reign.
To me the youth gives AJ more durability, so I’m rolling with him via fourth round KO.
Alan Garcia, Staff Writer
I pick Anthony Joshua to win this one. He might lack experience, but power agility and youth are all on his side.
We have been witnessing the rise of the young new talent in all divisions and now it’s Joshua’s time.
Wladimir Klitschko is one dimensional and I doubt his upward European style will be enough to win this fight. Joshua by late KO or TKO.
Andrew Kang, Staff Writer
Wow! 90,000 fans expected to fill-up Wembley Stadium this Saturday? That is just incredible! The British sure do know how to cheer on and support their athletes. And there is a lot to be excited about in Anthony Joshua, who seems to have the power and talent to be the next dominant Heavyweight Champion.
This has shades of Mike Tyson vs Larry Holmes from 29 years ago, with Anthony Joshua being the young, powerful, explosive new champion and Wladimar Klitschko, the former champion and aging legend coming off a loss and a long period of inactivity to fight the best opponent of his career.
If Klitschko can utilize his jab early and often, safely back away from counters, then tie-up an over anxious Joshua in the clinches and slow the pace down, he could make the fight interesting for the first few rounds. The improving but still inexperienced Joshua could grow frustrated, expend a lot of energy in the clinches and will need to adjust to swing the momentum back in his favor.
But I see Joshua’s superior handspeed and youth – which will translate to energy, quicker reflexes and timing – being too much for Klitschko. Unless Wladimar fights overcautiously and look the extend the fight in hopes of catching a tiring, muscle-bound champion later, I foresee Anthony hurting him early and the referee mercifully stopping the fight in the early to middle rounds.
Ty Paul, Staff Writer
This is such a fascinating fight in numerous ways. The Old Lion vs. The New Lion, so to say. I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager we’re going to see a different Wladimir Klitschko than what we saw against Tyson Fury a little less than two years ago.
Will that make a difference for Klitschko going up vs. Joshua in front of 90,000 at Wembley? Who knows.
For Klitschko to get going, he’s got to establish his jab early and make Joshua on the defensive. That could get Joshua questioning himself if he can’t get off his combinations while being controlled by the Ukrainian. Joshua is such a methodical boxer/power-puncher that he could let this fight come to him with his patience.
Also, Joshua hasn’t had a pro bout go past the seventh round, so he’ll be digging into new territory if this fight goes into the later rounds.
Klitschko at age 41, likely being a first ballot hall of famer, has had his time. Joshua won’t get a stoppage, but will show his boxing smarts and take over the last half of the fight to a clear unanimous-decision victory.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
Contrary to what many people are saying in the build up to this fight, Wladimir Klitschko has been on the decline for quite a few fights–even before that ugly loss to Tyson Fury.
Looking at his old age, plus the fact that Klitschko hasn’t been in the ring since November of 2015, I don’t think things bode well for him on Saturday night. This is the perfect time to drop the age-old saying, “father time is undefeated,” but it’s not only age that will do Wlad in.
Klitschko loves to clinch and smother his opponents work, and often times he is deducted points for wrapping his man up repeatedly, but will that work against the young and muscular 6’6″ Anthony Joshua? I don’t think so.
Because of Joshua’s size and athleticism, Klitschko will have trouble landing cleanly, similar to fights against Bryant Jennings (26.4 percent) and Fury (22.5 percent). Klitschko didn’t land one body punch in his win against Alexander Povetkin, so I don’t see a focus on the body being a reasonable key for Klitschko to break AJ down.
Having said all of that, we haven’t seen Joshua against someone this good so there is a chance that he could take a few rounds to warm up. I think Joshua’s best bet is to bring the fight to Klitschko and really push the action for the first few rounds to see how old Klitschko really is–not to mention how his chin holds up.
I like Joshua, behind his stiff jab, to back Klitschko up and take him out somewhere between Rounds 5 and 8.
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