IF Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko have been, for the most part, cordial in the build up to their April 29 IBF and WBA heavyweight title fight, civility will all be forgotten as soon as the contest begins.
Rob McCracken, Joshua’s trainer told Boxing News, “Neither will show each other respect once the bell goes. Once the bell goes it’s a fight and that will be the same for both guys. It’s a fight Anthony’s looking forward to. Anthony believes in himself. He’s young, fit, strong, powerful. He’s achieved great things in boxing but he wants to achieve more so it’s going to be really interesting and fascinating to be part of it, to see how it all unfolds. AJ will be in great shape on the night. He’s looking to defend that title.”
They’ll have been covering every angle in training. “He’s very disciplined and dedicated,” McCracken said of Joshua. “He’s world champion now, he’s got the Klitschko fight which isn’t going to be easy.
“He’s young, he’s fresh, he’s sharp. He’s powerful and obviously he’s intending to defend his title and be successful.”
McCracken holds Klitschko, the former heavyweight champion of the world, in high regard. He is taking nothing for granted. “Who knows in boxing? I think Klitschko’s a very good fighter, he’s a former Olympic champion, been hugely successful as a heavyweight, he’s been champion for a decade or so. Can box, can spoil, can punch, very experienced, very tricky. He’s the opponent and of course you respect him, he’s been a tremendous fighter and he still is. Anthony’s job is to be professional, switched on and use his ability, use his speed and nullify Klitschko where Klitschko can’t really get going into the contest. Because if you let Klitschko get going and he gets that jab going, he starts pushing and shoving and looking for the right hand, then he’s a real, real handful and difficult hard work.”
90,000 people at Wembley Stadium will be a remarkable event. But McCracken is familiar with that type of situation. He was in Carl Froch’s corner when Froch beat George Groves at Wembley. “Carl had a great career, did fantastically well and a brilliant night at Wembley, beat a very good fighter in George Groves. Groves will come again, Groves will probably be a world champion. I said that night Groves will probably go on and become a world champion and I still think that he can, he’s a very good fighter. Froch was really good on the night and what a brilliant experience and in fairness what an experience for both the fighters who fought at Wembley, Froch and George Groves. Great experience fighting in front of 80,000 people, gripping the nation at the time, huge experience, Carl was great to work with, fantastic person and great fighter,” he recalled.
McCracken is not sure yet whether the Ukrainian’s reaction to the Tyson Fury defeat will make him more dangerous. “You saw Klitschko in the last fight against Tyson Fury, Fury did tremendously well and Klitschko just looked a bit out of sorts and possibly, possibly he’s late in his career and possibly he’s not the force he was. But he’s intending to be the force he was and be re-motivated and maybe the loss is the best thing that happened to him or it’s the worst thing that happened to him. It’ll be one of the two and we’ll find out on April 29,” Rob said. “But it’ll be a fantastic spectacle, it’ll be a great fight and Joshua’s going in with one of the very best heavyweights in the last 20 or 30 years without a shadow of a doubt.”