LENNOX LEWIS knows exactly what’s needed to become a great heavyweight. He also knows just what it’s like to fight a Klitschko. He believes Anthony Joshua will face a similar experience to what he went through against Wladimir Klitschko’s older brother Vitali.
Lewis said, “Because I didn’t have no training for his size and weight, when I hurt him he lumped on me. He was heavy. I had to push him off and throw punches again. So that’s the part I didn’t train for. If we’d had another fight I would have trained for that. Pushing 250lbs and then punching again, so I would have been training doing that same thing.”
Wladimir is likely to try the same tactics, leaning on Anthony’s head and shoulders to tire him out when he can. That will be a new experience for Joshua. “He hasn’t done it in any of his fights and you can’t expect him to go into the most important fight of his life to do it. That’s where the experience comes in. If Wladimir uses his experience there are a lot of things he can do to slow the younger man down,” Lennox said. “This has to be the toughest fight he’s taken on so far. It’s a big jump for him. Is he ready for it? I believe he’s ready it. Really he’s done remarkably well since the Olympics, dealing with each fight, basically blasting them out.
“The question still remains how much Wladimir has left? How much of the true Wladimir is left? Or have we not seen the best? This fight may bring out the best in Wladimir.”
Klitschko would however have to shake off the weight of his advancing age at 41 years old. “I don’t think he wants to believe that [he’s old]. I don’t think he’ll fall into that. I think he would want to go out with a win. Although they seem like they’re friends and everything it’s all the psychology surrounding the fight that they seem like they’re friends. When they’re in there they’re going to be punching trying to knock each other out,” Lewis said.
“I look at Wladimir’s losses, when he lost, he lost twice because of the first round he lost. And then I noticed throughout his career he remembered those losses and didn’t allow that to happen again. But now he’s up against a stronger man than him, does [Joshua] have more stamina than him? We’re going to have to see. I believe so. If he’s been working the way he’s been working, he’s going to have more stamina, more strength and I think they’re pretty equal on the speed.”
Lewis analysed what Klitschko needs to do against Joshua, saying, “It’s really taking everything he’s got. It really comes down to defence. Establishing the jab, when Anthony’s coming at him, whether he’s throwing the right hand or the jab, it’s blocked, you never allow him to hit until it goes into the late rounds.”
He doesn’t believe the baying crowd at Wembley stadium will bother the seasoned Klitschko. “I don’t think it will affect him. He does what he wants anyway. He boxes how he wants. He’s not the kind of guy, when they go, ‘Come on!’ to really step it up. He still plays by his playbook,” he said.
The Ukrainian should be motivated. “He’s been fighting because he wants to be undisputed. But now the undisputed has gone even further away from him. He’s up to 70 fights,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be difficult. Maybe he can’t get undisputed now but at least he can go out with a win.”
And Lennox’s prediction: “I’d say Anthony Joshua early, Wladimir late. Because of the fact he’s been through 22 [world title fights] already. He knows how to go the distance.”