IT could be said Wladimir Klitschko has aided the progress of former world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in more than just one way.
Certainly, the pair’s epic encounter at Wembley Stadium in 2017 accelerated Joshua’s journey, catapulted him to superstardom and led us to believe the 2012 Olympic champion was close to the finished article.
However, now that we know Joshua is still in the developmental stage, Klitschko has come along again, this time to influence the Londoner with some training and dietary advice ahead of his must-win rematch against Andy Ruiz Jnr on Saturday (December 7).
Essentially, then, Klitschko is responsible for both enhancing Joshua – in terms of stature, reputation and expectancy levels – and then shrinking him back down to size.
“He said loads of stuff to me. Wlad was definitely ahead of the game,” Joshua, 22-1 (21), said. “He’s more disciplined than me. He’s more diplomatic.
“He was giving me dietary and training advice and that is maybe what people are talking about now when they see a difference in my body.
“Maybe that’s why – because I’ve adapted some of his teaching – my weight may fluctuate.”
Ahead of this weekend’s rematch in Saudi Arabia, Joshua has seemingly drawn comfort from a number of new faces – coaches, pad men and general hangers-on. Yet, of all these new faces and fresh voices it’s Wladimir Klitschko, a man who reigned the heavyweight division for almost a decade, who could prove to be the one worth listening to.
According to David Kelly of the Belfast Telegraph, Carl Frampton’s WBO super-featherweight title challenge against Jamel Herring could end up taking place at Belfast’s SSE Arena in April 2020.
Frampton, 27-2 (15), dominated unbeaten American Tyler McCreary over 10 rounds at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday (November 3), dropping him twice in the process, and the victory all but secured him a shot against WBO super-featherweight champion Herring, who was watching from ringside.
“If that fight can be made for Belfast that would be fantastic,” said Frampton. “Jamel is a big man but I’m daring for greatness.”
Promoter Bob Arum added: “We believe that we can deliver a title fight for Carl against WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring in Belfast. Whenever the indoor arena over there is ready, we can go ahead and do it.
“Herring would be getting very well paid so I don’t believe that it will be a problem to bring him to Belfast. It would have been easy to make the fight in the States, but we really feel we have an obligation to give Carl a big fight in Belfast and I love it over there.
“I think they’ve made me an honorary Irishman because of the work we’ve done with Carl and Michael Conlan.
“Herring, naturally, wants to make sure there would be neutral officials for the fight and that’s not a problem. It would be another huge fight for Belfast, and we know the fans there would love it.”
There’s no doubting that. The big question, though, is this: does Carl Frampton, at 32, have what it takes to defeat a 5’10 southpaw and become the first Irishman to win world titles in three weight classes (having previously triumphed at super-bantamweight and featherweight)? Hopefully by April next year we will find out.