As read out on the BillyCBoxing show on Wednesday October 25th. These are the thoughts of AJ through a newspaper article published everyday during fight week;
Wembley Stadium and Wladimir Klitschko are central to how I’m feeling this week. It’s a night that’s still crucial in many ways.
I would have loved to have had the rematch around about now but I respect his decision to retire — he’s had an incredible career.
That was the first time I’d been into the ‘championship rounds’ in my professional career. I always wondered what it was like to go into the latter rounds, what it was like to get knocked down — and now that I’ve experienced it I can relate it to my opponents, like Carlos Takam for example, when I watch their fights and use it to my advantage.
There was nothing nasty in the build-up with us and there didn’t need to be. The stage was set at Wembley for a massive occasion and we delivered. The night was perfect for me, the stadium, the moment and even the weather. There was traffic on the North Circular on the way there and people were beeping their horns and waving at me.
Some people go through their careers without having to show grit, others don’t. I had to go through it against Wladimir and show myself, not anyone else, that I could dig deep and pull through from a bad place.
You cannot prepare for hitting the canvas, you don’t train or practise getting knocked down. There’s nowhere to hide and you can talk the talk but it’s who you are that gives you the character to get through that. On that night, it was the time for me to prove how much heart I had.
Wladimir and I were matched well on ability, technique and speed — it just came down to desire. We needed to show who wanted it more but, even though he lost, he showed that he had the fight in him. I had to get rid of all that respect I had for him and turn it into a dog fight. I put it on him in the fifth round and, when I put him down, I roared to the crowd because I thought I’d done it. I turned around and like The Terminator, Wladimir rose to give it his last push. I swung a few big shots and he slipped them and started fighting back. We went into the sixth and he put me down.
I told him that, if he let me out of that round, I’d knock him out. I got back to the corner and I felt my energy come back and told him that I warned him that this was coming. It took me a few rounds to figure out the combinations he was throwing.As he threw the right hand I was trying to go under to the body to slow him down with the left and you just naturally rotate and what comes after — the uppercut. After it landed I took a look at him to see if he was hurt because I didn’t want to expend any energy if he had ridden the punch well but I thought let’s roll the dice here and I unloaded on him.
Even when he went down and got up, he was still rolling back and throwing but I was catching him clean, he went down again and I looked back and he’d got up again. I hit him with another barrage of punches and the referee stepped in and said “enough’s enough”.
I hope you don’t mind the reflection. It’s a fight that defines me this week against Takam — my first fight since that April night — and will define me in my career, a night to give me strength this week.