MOMENTS after stopping Wladimir Klitschko in their topsy-turvy heavyweight unification fight, Anthony Joshua almost went at it with Vitali Klitschko as well, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua rose from the first knockdown of his professional career to stop Klitschko in the 11th round of an instant classic at Wembley Stadium.
However, while consoling Wladimir in the ring afterward, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua had a slight brush with his older brother Vitali.
“He [Joshua] will learn [from the fight]. There were little things, in the ring before the fight Vitali was staring at him, then he started staring at Vitali and all that’s designed to do is use up energy. You’re just using up emotions and he’ll learn from that,” Hearn told Boxing News.
“Once he’s in that mode, he’s a nasty, horrible man in that ring. Outside the ring, one of the nicest guys you could meet, inside it – horrible. He and Vitali nearly came to blows after the fight. He went over to Wladimir and thanked him and Josh was tired and he went on and on, ‘seriously man,’ talking about the fight, and Vitali was like ‘alright, alright’ [Hearn stretches his arm across as if pushing someone away] and Josh was like ‘f*** you.’ But Vitali can handle himself, he’s not exactly a pushover.”
The minor infraction of the mutual respect between both sides was short-lived, and Wladimir praised Joshua for his performance while ‘AJ’ paid respect to the 41-year-old.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Vitali seek revenge for his brother, just as he did in 2004 when he thrashed Corrie Sanders, who had previously stopped Wladimir in two rounds, though. Vitali is happily retired and committed to his role as Mayor of Kiev.
Wladimir has the option of fighting Joshua in a rematch later this year, but he will first go away with his family before deciding on his future.