18 fights. 18 wins. 18 knockouts. That is Anthony Joshua’s record so far during his fairly short professional boxing career. The Briton who hails from Watford will fight Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in what could be a career-defining bout. For the Ukrainian, this is a shot at redemption after his devastating defeat to Tyson Fury in November 2015 but for Joshua, it is about taking the next step towards unifying the heavyweight division.
Joshua dreams of holding every title in his weight class – and with good reason. Standing tall at a colossal 6 foot 6, the 27-year-old is widely regarded as boxing’s bright star and could be set for an era of dominance in the near future. Klitschko previously held the title for well over a decade. This was the second-longest defence of all-time but he still may struggle to cope with Joshua’s speed, power and agility if the defending IBF champion brings his A-game.
Should the 27-year-old win, he will receive the vacant WBA super heavyweight belt title as well as the IBO heavyweight crown. However, he will face a couple of difficult bouts in his bid to unify the division. Deontay Wilder, the current WBC champion, has won all 37 of his bouts since turning professional, recording an incredible 36 knockout victories. Without a doubt, a title fight with the American will happen at some point in the coming years…
Meanwhile, New Zealand star Joseph Parker is also unbeaten, winning 18 of his 22 bouts so far inside the scheduled distance. The 25-year-old defeated Andy Ruiz by mutual decision in December and is due to defend his WBO title against British youngster Hughie Fury. Who knows, we could be set for an all-British heavyweight bout at some stage in the near future if the 22-year-old continues to develop into an elite talent.
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But first things first, Joshua must beat Klitschko to maintain his current standpoint near the top of world boxing. At the time of writing, bookies are offering 5/11 on Joshua to win his bout with the ageing Klitschko. A triumph over the Ukrainian will see the Briton’s stock hit new heights. Joshua has come under scrutiny for some of his fights in the past but Eddie Hearn knows that with Fury out of the picture, this is his moment to hit the big time.
Klitschko has done some phenomenal things during his illustrious career but beating 27-year-old Joshua in London might trump his previous accomplishments. At 40 years old, this is probably the Ukrainian’s last chance to make an impact on the world stage and in a way, it is a win-win bout for Klitschko. If he wins, he can retire as a champion after handing a first defeat to Joshua whilst his legacy won’t be damaged if he loses against his younger rival.
Anthony Joshua has been destined for greatness since winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games but this is his opportunity to finally announce himself as THE major player in the heavyweight division. Both fighters will give it their all but there is only one man with a future in this sport and endless title fights and success will follow if Joshua gets the better of his legendary opponent.