After a third-round knockout of American Eric Molina on December 10th in front of thousands inside the Manchester Arena, Anthony Joshua has now pencilled in a fight with the boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko.
After his win Joshua who has now won his 18 professional fights with 18 knockouts called Klitschko who was sitting ringside into the ring, where the pair squared up.
The highly anticipated showdown between the two fighters has now been officially confirmed.
The mouthwatering clash will be taking place next year on April 29th at Wembley Stadium. Anthony Joshua will once again be defending his IBF World Heavyweight Championship belt, and the vacant IBO championship as well as the WBA Super title will also both be on the line in front of a possible record-breaking crowd which could be as big as 90,000 if as expected it sells out.
Speaking about the 2017 clash, Olympic Gold Medallist Joshua said:
“This fight will be one of the biggest nights in my boxing career, it marks the highest point of my climb through the professional ranks.
“It is three years since I turned professional, I have taken the time to gain experience, fight men who have fallen and some who have fought hard and through this I am learning my trade, how the business works and gaining the ring craft which is sometimes underestimated as everyone wants to see the mega fights right away.
“It is the perfect time for me to move up another step and contest my heavyweight championship belt against one of the legends of our sport.
“There is no doubt this will be a titanic battle with a huge amount on the line, just like every fight, but when I enter the ring I will be prepared for victory as I have been with all my other fights. The legend against the champ – it’s time to write history.
“In order to beat Klitschko I’ll need to make improvements but that’s what I’ll do at my next camp.
“I’ve not fought anyone like Klitschko who likes to box down the middle so that will make it interesting. With Molina I had to create my chances but Klitschko’s style of boxing in front of me will create those chances.
“It’ll be different type of fight and I’ll have to work on those type of things in the next camp.
“Age does play a massive part. But I can’t let the fact he’s older than me be the only reason why I think I’m going to win.
“When I go sparring I prepare for 12 rounds. So I’m not going to go in there with the mentality that I’m going to knock him out in six rounds.
“That’s wrong. So I’m going to say I’m going to box Klitschko for 12 rounds and make him miss, hit and don’t get hit and make him pay.
“That’s more of a statement for me but if the knockout does come then I’ll be able to say I’ve been better than anyone else.”
“The last time I fought at Wembley it was in front of about 3,000 people at half-past five in the afternoon. But it’s a fight and whether it’s in front of 90,000 people or nine people, it makes no difference.
“I remember the ring was tiny and before I knew it he was in my corner swinging hooks. I was a bit raw then so I took a few and I managed to get him out of there. I was happy to go on first so I could watch Froch against Groves later on.”
While the legendary Klitschko said;
“I’m looking forward to this fight of the year, just like boxing fans all around the world. This is the first time in a decade that I’m the challenger again. I will fight against a champion who I consider the best of the young generation. Basically experience will take on youth. This makes this fight that unique. I will be ready for the challenge!”
“I’m so happy to get this fight made,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “It is the biggest Heavyweight fight in the last decade and a fight that will belong in the legacies of both fighters. It’s the young lion against a legend of the sport.
“Many felt AJ would not take this challenge and that it’s too early for him but he wants to test himself and give the fans great fights. After all, isn’t that what you want to see? The risk, the dice being rolled, the 50-50 fights that will excite and ignite the World of Boxing.
“Everything is on the line in this fight, not just the IBF and WBA’s titles, but hopes, dreams and even careers.
“Age is just a number. That’s the way I feel right now. Yeah, it’s about how I will stand in the ring. I will be 41. Is that an issue? These question marks are actually really great for a lot of people who have doubts.
“The more questions we have before a sporting event – who, where, when and how they are going to win – the better. But age is just a number and I feel great.
“I hadn’t had such a long break as over a year in my 26-year career. So I’ve had time to recoup, time to cut my guns, and now I just want to shoot and let them go.
“Health is number one but motivation is very important. I’m highly motivated. There is nothing else. I just want to get back and get these titles. I just want to let go the frustration that I’ve collected being inactive.”
The build up to the mega bout is expected to be very respectful as both men have a great deal of respect for each other. Back in 2014 the pair took part in a sparring session.
A selection of tickets for Joshua V Klitschko at Wembley Stadium on April 29th next year are expected to go on sale before Christmas with full details expected to be announced at the official press conference on Wednesday, December 14th at Wembley.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said: “We’re looking to go to 90,000 but at the moment we have permission to sell 80,000. We have to speak to the Major of London to approve that due to the transport issues around that but he does want to bring big fights to the city so we hope he’ll agree.
“Every time Joshua fights he can probably sell around 30,000 as a standard rule but this will be a huge occasion and I’m confident we can sell the lot.
“Capacity-wise I hope it will be bigger than Froch vs Groves. That had something different with it being a rematch but this will also be unique – two Olympic champions at different stages of their career.
“I think it’s the hottest prospect in world boxing right now against a legend.”
The fight will also be available to watch via Sky Sports Box Office.
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