ANTHONY JOSHUA v Wladimir Klitschko was announced immediately after the IBF heavyweight champion dismantled the overmatched Eric Molina in the third round inside the Manchester Arena. The pair will contest Joshua’s belt and the vacant WBA title at Wembley Stadium on April 29 in what is set to be one of the biggest fights staged on British soil in boxing history.
Klitschko was originally in negotiations to be Joshua’s opponent instead of Molina, until the Ukrainian’s team decided the contest should wait until 2017.
“First of all, congratulations to you, champ. ‘AJ’ you’ve got it. I was watching ‘AJ’ in 2012 in London when he won the gold medal,” Klitschko said after being called into the ring following Joshua’s win.
The pair have history, after sparring while Klitschko was still world champion, and Joshua was a prospect on the way up.
“I’ve shared the ring with the champ,” said Joshua. “A very respectful man outside the ring, very competitive in the ring, and this is the step-up that people have wanted. Two warriors will come together. Klitschko wants his belts back, may the best man win.”
Klitschko responded: “He [Joshua] is the best man in the division and I believe this excitement speaks for itself. There is no doubt this fight must happen… It’s such an amazing fight and it should take place at Wembley Stadium. It’s a great location… I’m looking forward to the fight in April.”
When asked how he beats Klitschko by Sky Sports, Joshua said: “I can’t reveal that. But how I beat him will be by being myself. I will focus on my own training, and come with a positive attitude.”
Klitschko, 40, held the world title for 10 years until he lost to Tyson Fury last November.
“I have been doing this job for 26 years so I do have a lot of knowledge, and that knowledge will definitely help me in the ring.”