Wembley Stadium is the setting for one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year on Saturday, as legendary heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko takes on rising knockout machine Anthony Joshua.
The latter, who enters with 18 wins and 18 knockouts in 18 professional fights, is being pegged as the favorite against Dr. Steelhammer, who shockingly fell to Tyson Fury in his last fight.
Anthony Joshua: -260
Wladimir Klitschko: +200
Klitschko, who was regarded as the most feared boxer on the planet for a long time, has slowed down now that he’s into his 40’s. Only two of his last four victories have come via knockout, and the loss against Fury saw him unable to generate any kind of real offensive attack.
Per CompuBox, Klitschko threw a porous 19.3 punches per round and connected on a mere 52 total punches in 12 rounds. That’s not going to get it done against Joshua.
Of course, that fight was 17 months ago, and a matchup against one of the most exciting boxers in the sport seems to have provided the 41-year-old with a newfound energy.
“Is it a degradation that I’m a challenger and an underdog in this fight? I don’t think so. I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again as the winner of this fight.”
Even though he’s far away from his prime, Klitschko is better than anyone Joshua has faced. If he can make this a somewhat ugly fight, grind it out and force this to go the distance, we could see Joshua’s lack of experience come into play.
Ultimately, though, Joshua is much younger, he’s faster, he’s more athletic and he’s fighting in front of a massive home crowd. While Klitschko will give him by far his biggest test, the rising star will find a way to get it done.
Prediction: Joshua def. Klitschko via TKO, Round 9