How Wladimir Klitschko can prove the doubters wrong and upset hometown hero Anthony Joshua


Like any successful businessman, Eddie Hearn is a risk-taker, but by staging what is set to be the highest grossing boxing match ever held on British soil without getting Anthony Joshua a proper test of endurance first, he could be sentencing his main cash cow to the slaughterhouse.

A proper test of his ability to compete beyond the seventh round (only the good-but-limited Dillian Whyte has taken him so far, and looked capable of winning the fight had he avoided getting caught clean in the seventh) would have been wise, but Hearn will know casual fans will only pay attention for so long.

What seems to be have been forgotten is that before Tyson Fury brought Klitschko’s reign to an end – an unbeaten spell of over 11 years remember – the ‘Gypsy King’ was a seasoned 12-round fighter. 

The same cannot be said of Joshua. It may sound absurd, but Joshua is not as clever as Fury, at least not in terms of ring generalship.

Joshua may struggle to carry his impressive but hefty physique around a ring for 12 rounds if Klitschko can take him places he’s never been before, and the Ukrainian’s record – 358 career rounds compared to Joshua’s 44 – suggests he’s more than capable of taking the fight into the second half.


 

Having not fought since the Fury defeat in November 2015, Klitschko’s inactivity should be his only real concern, but with his brother Vitali having benefitted from a four-year break between 2004 and 2008, the breather may prove a blessing in disguise for the 41-year-old.

Add to that the fact that Klitschko cannot afford to lose this fight – because his legacy will forever be debated if he suffers back-to-back defeats against big-name opponents – and the case for siding with the ‘underdog’ becomes stronger. Make no mistake, he will have learned more from his defeat to Fury than anyone else.

Of course, there’s always a chance power and precision can overwhelm Klitschko early on – this is heavyweight boxing after all – but until Joshua proves himself in the championship rounds, the jury remains out. 

With Fury having since hit the self-destruct button, AJ has been handed a priority boarding pass, but both he and Hearn will be able to afford their own private jet once the post-fight balance sheet has been finalised. 

Problem is, Hearn risks sending his jumbo-sized asset into uncharted territory without having tested his fuel tank’s capacity.