By Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing
Joshua is the betting favourite with most bookies, with 2/5 being the most common bet. Klitschko is listed at 15/8 with most oddsmakers.
You’re likely to get 4/6 on a Joshua KO, 7/2 on a Klitschko KO and similar odds on either to win on points, around 6 or 7/1. A draw is anything from 28-1 to 40-1.
What the rivals say…
Luis Ortiz: He says he’s going to watch the fight “calmly,” and he favours Klitschko. “The experience is on Klitschko’s side and the area of youth favours Joshua. I think the Ukrainian will be the winner. He’s going to use the powerful jab to keep Joshua at bay.”
Deontay Wilder: “My heart is for Joshua, but my mind goes to Klitschko,” Wilder said on a teleconference this week. “I’d love to fight Joshua. That would be a mega-fight. If this kid beats Klitschko, the only fight he can take is with me.”
Tyson Fury: “Klitschko to KO Joshua.”
Tony Bellew: “If it’s not over in the first four rounds, I’m extremely worried.”
“Only purely because [Joshua] is very inexperienced for a fight that goes past four rounds. Let me tell you it’s very different when you’re in with a seasoned vet who can bang.”
“I speak with experience going in with top level guys. Experience is gained not earned. The only way you can get it is time. Unfortunately for Anthony, he hasn’t been able to get it, through no fault of his own, because he’s so bleeding good.”
“We’re going to find out on Saturday night how good he really is. I think he’s the real deal. I think he’s the real dominant fighter of our era. Hopefully, it goes within four. I don’t like this fight to go past four rounds. … I just feel [Anthony] will get rid of him in the first four rounds.”
Hughie Fury: “I do think it’s a tiny bit soon for Joshua …” Fury said. “I would go with Klitschko with the experience. I just think it’s a tiny bit too soon for Joshua. Definitely a knockout.”
“He wasn’t an 11-year champion for nothing. Like I say, you cannot rush into big fights like him, thinking ‘Yeah, I’m just going to knock him over like every other man.’ He’s not going to stand there to be hit. [Joshua] has not had the experience to go with someone like him.”
David Haye: “You’re only as good as your last fight, Anthony is on the ascendancy and is improving fight by fight. Wlad’s last performance (Tyson Fury) was not good. Based on that you have to go with Anthony.”
“Wlad will have been out of the ring for 18 months.”
“It’s terrible preparation to fight someone so young and someone who has been fighting so regularly.
“You can only go by current form and in the last fight he had against Tyson Fury, he refused to let his hands go. He couldn’t pull the trigger.”
What the trainers say…
Peter Fury – Tyson Fury’s uncle and trainer
“He’s [Joshua] got to come up with his own one [game plan]. They are all different styles aren’t they? Nobody has got Tyson Fury’s style.
“I don’t see how Joshua is going to implement that. If he tries to implement that type of boxing, there is only one winner. I think Wladimir will walk away with it.
“He’s got to come for that knockout and he’s got to bring it early. He’s got to put Klitschko in shock, take him out of his stride, and rough him up properly. That is the only way he is going to handle Klitschko in my opinion.”
Freddie Roach – Former Klitschko trainer
“It’s the age (that makes me think Joshua will win): he’s 41-years-old now, he’s been around for a long time,” said Roach. “When I was training him he was a great puncher, and he either won by knockout or lost by knockout. But then Emanuel changed him into a good boxer.
“Youth is a great thing to have. But it’s not enough alone. Joshua’s got to be careful in exchanges, because if he gets caught up in exchanges, and they’re both swinging, Klitschko does have knockout power. The left hook’s always been his punch: he has a great left hook.
“He can’t get caught swinging with this guy. If he trades punch for punch, Klitschko is the better puncher.
“Him and his brother (Vitali) are the hardest workers out there (in the heavyweight division). This was one of their workouts: running 12 x 800m sprints, under three minutes, with a minute’s rest in between.
“That’s an unbelievable workout for a flyweight, let alone a heavyweight, but he could do it. That’s why they’re so good, because they work their a**** off.
“Klitschko (can win by) taking him into the late rounds, get him to start exchanging late.”
Adam Booth – Former heavyweight trainer
“I’m going to go with youth and energy, and pick Anthony Joshua. But I’m only going by that by the slightest of margins because if Wlad did nullify Anthony’s attributes and actually can get control and win the fight I wouldn’t be surprised.
Jonathon Banks – In Klitschko’s corner
“He [Joshua] just knows with two power punchers, it’s not going the distance,”
“He knows eventually, they both are going to start hitting on each other.
“Everybody that AJ’s started to hit on, they’ve fell. Everybody Wladimir has started to hit on, they’ve fell, so no, it won’t go the distance. This fight has knockout written all over it.”
“Don’t get me wrong, he don’t look at his opponents like he looks at Wladimir,” said Banks.
“He looks at Wladimir on a higher level, but he destroyed them all and he is looking to do the same to Wladimir.
“It’s going to be completely different to any other opponent he ever faced. He is the best opponent that Joshua has ever faced.
“He’s never faced a gold medallist before. Wladimir has. He’s never faced a dominant figure in the sport before, or someone they considered to be a force to be reckoned with. Wladimir has. That’s the difference.”
What the former champions say…
George Foreman – Former heavyweight king
“[This fight] matches the old and the new, the aggressive and the smart.
“If I were a gambler, I’d see Joshua as a 6-5 favourite. So I’d put him just in front.
“Klitschko knows how to win and how to use his body size. It will be a difficult fight. Klitschko’s a good fighter. He has a good left jab and once you develop a good left jab, there’s no such thing as your best days before or behind you, you are a fighter that can last forever.
“If he wins the world title again – on my God, imagine that! If Klitschko wins, the boxing world will flip out.”
Frank Bruno – Former Heavyweight champion
“I think Anthony Joshua has got a good chance. He’s got youth on his side, he’s a very powerful puncher and could potentially knock Klitschko out very early.
“Klitschko is a great fighter though, with a lot more rounds under his belt, so you never know.”
Carl Froch – Former super middleweight champion
“This could go one of many ways, but if I had to guess right I would say Joshua’s going to bang him out, he’ll just have too much for him.
“He’s big and strong, and has the youth and ambition at 27 years old, which could prove decisive.
Lennox Lewis – Former unified heavyweight champion
“Klitschko doesn’t have the legs, the power that he used to,”
“He has a chink in his armour after getting beat by Tyson Fury. Anthony Joshua is now taking that challenge, going after the man.”
“Now is the perfect time for him,” the 51-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I believe Joshua is more focused, more aimed. Does he want to be undisputed champion? Absolutely.”
“Nobody is perfect. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses,” ‘Dr Ironfist’ said.
“The weakness of my brother is concentration. Wladimir was not 100 per cent focused for the Fury fight. That is why he lost it.
“He knows that. Right now, he has prepared for this fight so well. I’ve never seen my brother so focused during preparations.”
Lamon Brewster – Former heavyweight champion
“Yes, I do believe that Joshua is going to stop Wladimir Klitschko. He is young, skilled, hungry, but at the same time, humble. To be honest, I really don’t see anyone beating Anthony Joshua, except, maybe, Deontay Wilder down the road.
“I don’t know if Joshua can [stop Klitschko early], but at the same time, I think he will. He has really impressed me with his skill and accuracy. Of course Wladimir has a lot of great experience, which could turn out to be a determining factor, but I must say, I see Joshua winning no matter what.”
What the fighters say…
“I am obsessed with my goal to become a three-time world champion in the biggest arena I have ever fought,”
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, not with words but with the fists. As a fan, I am looking forward to this fight as well.
“As a fighter, I am going to stand in the ring because I have I have got the best place by the way, so right in the middle.
“To see two Olympic champions fight each other, the former champion and the current champion, it is something that people are looking forward to and I believe the outcome of the fight will be amazing.
“I will rely on my experience and will train accordingly. I will do everything that is needed to get healthy and ready for April 29. I wish Joshua the same thing. Soon we’re going to get to the camp and get ready.”
“On this stick, I recorded a video last week I gave my prediction,” Klitschko revealed, holding up the memory stick. “This stick is going to be integrated into my robe.
“Do not ask me, after that fight, what is on the stick. The only person who is going to be able to open it up and watch it is the person who buys this robe, with all the money going to the Klitschko Foundation.”
“I always try to strip things right back to basics,” he said. “It is just me and a man trading blows and the best man will win.
“I am preparing myself not only for a physical battle but a mental battle with anyone. April 29 is another stepping stone towards greatness.”
“This is a defining fight for Klitschko, not for me, because it’s at the end of his career,”
“When he gets beat, that could be the end of him. This is just a part of my journey. I may not be the best but what I do, I do brilliant. That’s what’s got me here. The little things I do, work for me. If he says he’s the better boxer, so be it. So, when I start punching you in your jaw, you better stand up to my power.”