This weekend, British sensation Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshuas IBF and the vacant WBA World Championship in front of an expected record-setting 90,000 fans at Britains largest stadium.
Before the upcoming matchup between Klitschko and Joshua, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder took some time to discuss his views on this weekends fight, as fighting the winner would solidify his budding legacy.
Hopefully, said Wilder on the conference call about potentially fighting the winner. “There are a lot of people that are involved in this. If it were just solely up to me then Id be 1,000 percent confident, but its not just me. Thats what the fans want. Ive been wanting to give the fans what they want my entire career. Unfortunately, I am one of those fighters thats always getting the short end of the stick. I only can work with what I can work with.
Wilders last outing yielded a fifth round TKO over Gerald Washington at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to that, Wilder gave veteran boxer, Chris Arreola a vicious eighth round KO where he suffered torn biceps and a broken hand. With the WBC stating that Wilders mandatory challenger is Bermane Stiverne, a rematch is likely on the horizon first for the unbeaten champion.
But the money fight is with the winner of this weekends bout.
With Klitschko I definitely feel that the teachings of Emanuel Steward are lacking a little bit, but hes not to blame,” said Wilder. “Steward was a very, very smart trainer. The things that he could see and the things that he can get in the heads of the fighters, that was unbelievable. He wasnt a great trainer for no reason and thats when I thought Klitschko was the best, when he had Emanuel in his corner. Not only when hes inside of the ring but when hes on the outside too. Now, I just feel since hes gone, its more about what Wladimir wants to do, not what his trainers see.
With Joshua, hes got the height and hes got the power,” Wilder continued. “In the heavyweight division, you dont need skills. As long as you have the power, thats what makes up the heavyweight division. Youre in the game once youve got that power. Theyre going to have to play a forward fight to feel a little bit of each other out.
Joshua, the 2012 gold medalist of his hometown London Games, wrested the IBF heavyweight belt dramatically from Charles The Prince Martin in 2016. Since then the British standout has been on the worlds stage and a win over Klitschko would solidify his claim to the future of the heavyweight division.
Theres a lot of flaws that Joshua has, but Joshua is still young in the game as well,” Wilder said. “A lot of people look at Joshua and theyre going off of his physique and theyre going off of the hype that their countryman has brought to them. If you really look deep down and soul search and look at his resume, with all of the guys hes fought that sometimes makes a person look busier than what he is. Theres a lot of flaws in all of us though, to be honest. Nobody will ever be perfect in the ring. We only try to be our best and thats the only thing you should go off of.
Wilder does have an opinion on who will win and how it will impact his life, the ramifications of which are detrimental not only to his personal career but to boxing.
Im going to continue with my statement as Ive been saying it,” Wilder said. “My heart is for Joshua, but my mind is for Klitschko. My heart is for Joshua because I would love to fight him I think that would be a mega-fight. Even though Joshua is fighting Klitschko, people are still talking to this day about a Wilder and Joshua fight. Its almost demanded. If this kid beats Klitschko its like the only fight he can have is me, because its been so demanded.