February 1, 2017
February 1, 2017
Wladimir Klitschko

Action Images/REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO came face-to-face with Anthony Joshua in New York on Tuesday for a press conference ahead of their April 29 IBF and WBA heavyweight title unification clash at Wembley stadium.

Klitschko may be a 40 year old veteran, but he carries a charming menace. He was complimentary of Joshua’s abilities, while still suggesting they would “demolish” one another.

“There’s no mind games,” Wladimir insisted. “I think it’s the perfect time for both of us. In three years he’s going to be too good. And I’m going to be too old, maybe. But this is the time and we just got it at the right time. It’s definitely a signature fight for boxing.

“We’ll demolish each other in the ring afterwards but we’re respectful to each other, respectful to the sport and to the fans and you know what, it pays off. Because that’s going to polish this amazing sweet science.”

“I’m still around. It’s amazing,” the old champion continued. “I’ve fought in front of 30, 40, 50 and 60,000 but never in front of 90,000 people. That’s my biggest arena. This is going to be my biggest fight.”

He assailed Joshua with a barrage of praise, while throughout implying that Joshua, his junior, was following the track Klitschko had already laid out. “Fighting a man that I was, am and will be a fan of. Since I watched Anthony Joshua winning the Olympic gold in 2012, I was right there in the arena and it was amazing to watch someone following in your footsteps. We had plenty of rounds in sparring sessions in 2014, he was my sparring partner for my fight against Kubrat Pulev. I believe this man has a lot of skills. As Eddie [Hearn] said, he’s going to be the biggest star in boxing, maybe yes, maybe not. I heard you also made plans to fight Wilder past me, or other opponents. I understand the plans. I understand the ambitions. It’s good to be young and ambitious. In this case I’m talking both about Anthony and about Eddie and I believe that this fight is magnetising,” Klitschko said. “I’m looking forward to this challenge. I have my goal – to become three-time world champion. My motivation is high as the sky.”

“I am, and I repeat it one more time, this word, obsessed with my goal. To become three time world champion,” he concluded. “I know how serious my opposition is and I’m happy.”