Opinion | Apr 27 2017

Behind the scenes at the #JoshuaKlitschko workouts: Klitschko proves he’s #obsessed

Matt Christie reports from Wembley as the #JoshuaKlitschko mind games gather pace
#JoshuaKlitschko
Wladimir Klitschko during his public workout  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

IN case we needed any further evidence, Wladimir Klitschko again went out of his way to prove he is #obsessed when it comes to #JoshuaKlitschko. A challenger for the first time in over a decade, and an underdog for the first time full stop, the Ukrainian – labelled a control freak by several who have spent time with him – seems intent on unnerving Anthony Joshua while working hard to retain the respect that has so far been the theme of this promotion.

At the public workouts at Wembley Arena on Wednesday night – moments away from the Stadium where the heavyweight rivals will fight on Saturday – Klitschko entered the ring alongside a table and chair, which he duly plonked himself upon and had his hands wrapped for what felt like an eternity. A check of the watch revealed it was ‘only’ 25 minutes, but it was enough time to push back Joshua’s scheduled appearance and bore the crowd senseless.

But Klitschko has never been concerned with keeping the fans entertained. What he has always been exceptionally good at – since 2005 at least – is doing exactly as he pleases, and whatever is needed to win, whether it’s easy on the eye or not. And it certainly appears that the veteran, aware he is not the ‘home’ fighter in arguably his most important fight, is doing everything he can to get under the skin of Joshua in the build-up, without actually appearing to do anything at all.