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Sat Apr 29, 2017, 12:32 PM

Boxing

April 29, 2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko; 12 rounds for Joshua's WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. London; (Showtime live, HBO tape delayed)


One of the most anticipated heavyweight showdowns in recent times takes place today in Wembley Stadium. The bout is sold out, meaning 90,000 fans will be watching it live. It features the “young lion,” who is seeking to defend his titles, against a 41-year old former champion who has been in the sport for 27 years – which happens to be Joshua's age!

The younger man is the betting favorite. And he might well win, perhaps in spectacular fashion. Yet it would be a mistake to count the challenger out before the fight begins. Let's take a closer look at the fighters!

Both men stand 6' 6” and the champion has a one-inch reach advantage (82”). Both are orthodox, and tend to fight in what is known as the traditional European, straight-up, style. Both have very good punching-power. While “experts” have questioned each man's ability to take a punch, the truth is that when hit solidly by an opponent that size, everyone gets hurt. Hence, the real questions are: who has the ability to avoid getting hit? And how does each man respond when hurt?

Joshua is 18-0, with 18 knockouts. Only two opponents have taken him past five rounds. In 2015, Dillion Whyte did hurt him, before Joshua recovered and knocked Whyte out. Joshua has been impressive in his three fights since the, yet clearly Klitschko is the best opponent he's faced.

Klitschko is 64-4. Three of his loses were by knockout. Yet, the last of these came in 2004; he won the title a year later, and competed against the top in the division successfully until he was decisioned by Tyson Fury in 2015.

Fury, who is bigger than either Joshua or Klitschko, out-boxed Wladimir, generally moving side-to-side, and using his greater hand-speed. Today's fight is between two guys who are relatively slow on their feet. Joshua tends to move forward, often straight at his opponent. Klitschko prefers an opponent to come to him, and to counter-punch.

To win, Joshua's best bet is to come in from angles, land combinations, and look to catch Klitschko leaning backwards. That's a bad habit Wladimir has that became entrenched by facing smaller opponents. Teddy Atlas has predicted that Joshua will step in with a right, and take Klitschko out when he leans back.

Wladimir's best chance to win is to fight in bursts in the early rounds, and catch Joshua with a counter left hook in the middle rounds. Dan Rafael is predicting a Klitschko victory this way. The idea is that Joshua may be “exposed” as another Frank Bruno – another heavily-muscled British heavyweight, who destroyed most opponents, but could compete at the highest level.

I expect that Joshua will win. He appears to have the potential to become a great champion, in an era that is superior to that which Klitschko dominated. Klitschko has not looked impressive in his last two bouts. His last good performance came in November of 2014, against Kubrat Pulev; however, before scoring a brutal knockout, Pulev was able to hit and hurt Klitschko several times.

However, many great fighters have pulled off impressive wins late in their careers, after looking shot in previous bouts. One can't ignore that Wladimir has a real chance of pulling off an upset.

The bout starts at 4:15 pm/est on Showtime.

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Boxing (Original post)
H2O Man Apr 2017 OP
True Dough Apr 2017 #1
True Dough Apr 2017 #2
H2O Man Apr 2017 #3
Kingofalldems Apr 2017 #4
H2O Man Apr 2017 #5
StevieM Apr 2017 #8
H2O Man Apr 2017 #9
JonLP24 Apr 2017 #6
H2O Man Apr 2017 #7
JonLP24 Apr 2017 #10

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Apr 29, 2017, 02:21 PM

1. I'm intrigued

They're both looking jacked. Might get slow, sloppy and ugly if we see all 12 rounds. I've seen quite a few analysts pick Joshua to win it by stoppage between rounds 4 and 6, but are favoring Klitschko by decision, if it goes the distance.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Apr 29, 2017, 04:50 PM

2. Sounds like

it was a great fight!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Apr 29, 2017, 05:18 PM

3. A great fight!

I'd rank that bout as being on the level of some of the best ever in heavyweight history!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 29, 2017, 07:33 PM

4. Who won?

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Response to Kingofalldems (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 29, 2017, 08:20 PM

5. Joshua.

Joshua started well. He went on the attack in round 5, and decked Wladimir. But he got up, and Joshua got tired throwing punches. In the next round Klitschko decked Joshua -- first time in his career he's been down!

After he got up, Klitschko missed a lot of left hooks, and tried to land shots to the head, ignoring the body. Joshua was able to make it out of the round. After that, Klitschko was too cautious. Never let a young lion "rest" enough to gain his second wind.

By the 11rg round, Joshua was in control. Klitschko was brave, though. But Joshua caught him with a vicious uppercut. Wlad stayed on his feet, but was badly hurt. Joshua opened up, decking him twice, then forcing the referee to stop it.

In the post-fight interviews in the ring, both men displayed a lot of class. Great for boxing.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 30, 2017, 10:51 AM

8. I don't suppose when he went down for the first time in his career the announcer started screaming:

"Down goes Joshua!! Down goes Joshua!!"

Actually, I read about the fight on-line yesterday. It sounded like it was so much better than other recent boxing matches. My friend paid for the PPV between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao and invited me over for it. Nobody thought it was a good fight at all. I wish I had offered to pay for this one--it sounds like it was one for the ages.

Who did you think would win if there hadn't been a TKO? What do you think of this observation from wikipedia: "At the time of stoppage, Joshua was ahead on two judges scorecards (96-93 and 95-93) and the third judge had Klitschko ahead (95-93). CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 107 of his 355 punches thrown (30%), and Klitschko landed 94 of 256 (37%)"

Who do you think Joshua will fight next, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury? Which fight do you think will be bigger?

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Response to StevieM (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 30, 2017, 11:20 AM

9. It surprised

the announcers, that's for sure. I think they thought Wlad was going to stop him. But young lions catch their second wind a lot quicker than old lions!

I thought that after the 8th round was completed, it was a matter of time until Joshua took him out.Wlad was moving too much in the 9th and 10th, including on his toes, trying to revive his tired limbs. But Joshua's body punches were draining him. In the 11th, the referee attempted to give Klitschko extra time to recover -- he wiped his gloves off twice after each knockdown, something that was improper.

The sport benefits from the renewed interest in the heavyweight division. I think Joshua will come to the US late in the year, to face Wilder. Likely in Vegas, though I'd much prefer MSG. There's much more heavyweight history there -- plus it's within driving distance for my son and I!

I haven't spoken with Tyson Fury in a few years. I like him as a person, away from the cameras. While he hasn't taken much punishment in the ring -- aside from one very hard shot from Steve Cunningham -- and his skills are under-rated, he has punished his body since fighting Wladimir. So I'd suggest he take a tune-up, before fighting one of the top guys.

There is another good heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, who the promoters are blocking from getting a top fight. But he definitely deserves one. He may actually be the best in the division right now.

I loved Floyd's fight with Manny. It unfolded as expected. Greg Haugen told me that both he and Roberto Duran expected Floyd to KO Manny within five rounds. I didn't think that was likely. I remember several years ago, there was an editorial in The Ring magazine, stating that fans would be disappointed if they fought, because Floyd would simply out-box him for an "easy" win. Of course, all of their writers wanted Manny to savage Floyd at that time. While I respect both as great champions, styles make fights, and I anticipated Floyd winning by a clear decision. He was simply at a higher skill level.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Apr 30, 2017, 04:43 AM

6. I'll watch it on Showtime Anytime

Don't tell me who won.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 30, 2017, 08:48 AM

7. Great heavyweight fight!

It's still generating wild debate on my favorite boxing forum.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 30, 2017, 07:42 PM

10. 90,000 fans in Wembley Stadium that sold out within hours

Should lay rest to the claims of boxing a dying sport. Its good for the Heavyweight division.

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