Home Boxing News Wladimir Klitschko backs Anthony Joshua to return bigger and better than ever

Wladimir Klitschko backs Anthony Joshua to return bigger and better than ever

Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
This Photo by unknown author is licensed under CC BY

Wladimir Klitschko expects Anthony Joshua 24-2 (22) to rebound from his recent loss to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13).

The 34-year-old Ukrainian southpaw scored a clear-cut 12-round decision over Joshua at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in Tottenham, England last weekend to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles.

The timing of the loss couldn’t be worse for Joshua who was hoping to face WBC champion Tyson Fury in a rare four-belt unification bout next year.

Joshua, 31, previously lost his three world title to Andy Ruiz Jr by seventh-round knockout in June 2019 before reclaiming the titles on points in an immediate rematch six months later.

Klitschko, who was a long-reigning heavyweight champion, lost his final professional fight to Joshua four years ago.

He can empathise with Joshua after losing by knockout to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster when he was in the prime of his career.

“We have seen AJ challenged,” said Klitschko to Sky Sports.

“I remember my time. I lost two fights within [13 months in 2003 and 2004].

“To bounce back? To eventually become one of the longest reigning champions?

“AJ can still have his time, absolutely. It is all about how to overcome the challenge.”

Klitschko rebounded from his knockout losses to dominate the heavyweight division for close to a decade.

He also praised his fellow Ukrainian for his victory over Joshua.

“Usyk made history,” Klitschko said. “Since 2012, I watched Usyk winning his gold and I watched AJ winning his gold.

“Usyk has been undefeated for such a long time, winning all the titles as a cruiserweight and now with the heavyweights.

“This man is something special.”

Joshua has an immediate rematch clause in his contract that he is expected to enact. The return bout is likely to happen in February or March of next year.

“I’ve watched the fight, analysed my preparations and identified my mistakes. I’ve learnt my lesson,” Joshua said.

“Don’t worry about me. My spirit is strong!”

Fury, who is preparing for his trilogy bout against Deontay Wilder next weekend, offered this advice to Joshua.

“There are no secrets, no rocket science, to boxing,” he said.

“Fighters today make it technical. This is just two men punching each other for 12 rounds or less.

“Go to bed early, eat right, drink plenty of water and get stuck in! If it’s not going your way with the game-plan that you’ve got? Change it up!

“Give your best, give all that you can, leave it all in the ring. Don’t say ‘should have’, ‘would have’, ‘could have’.

“Don’t think: ‘If I trained harder, I could have done better’.

“My advice to Joshua is: get stuck in the best way he knows how! Put your best foot forward. Swing away, swing away!

“I’ve got no interest in slating anybody or kicking anybody while they are down. It’s not my style.

“I like to pick on people who are doing well, who are successful, on top of their game.

“I don’t like picking on people who are down, probably at their lowest point and probably mentally unstable after a loss after a long reign.”