The Big Moves
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The heavyweight division will be on display this Saturday night as Wembley Stadium in London, England plays host to this highly anticipated bout.


One of the greatest heavyweight fighters in boxing history returns to the ring after suffering his first defeat in over a decade. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO’s) is already in the history books as the second longest reigning heavyweight champion of all time. He’s competed in more title fights (29) than any other heavyweight, and on Saturday “Dr. Steel Hammer” will do so once more.


His opponent Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KO’s) is the current IBF heavyweight title holder and though he didn’t start training in the sport until the age of 18, he’s already experienced a lot of success. He represented England in the 2012 Olympics and brought home a gold medal after beating multiple world champions, then captured the British heavyweight strap not long after turning pro.


The betting market currently has Joshua listed as a -250 favorite with the take-back on the challenger Klitschko at +220. The over/under for “total rounds” as we go to print is 8.5 with the over slightly shaded. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the odds on Joshua drop as we approach fight night and casual fans begin making their way to the betting window. Granted, the venue makes him the “home team” but around the globe Klitschko has the much bigger name and he should attract plenty of action.


Bottom line, I believe enough value is being offered to warrant a wager and come fight night I expect to have multiple bet tickets in my pocket…here’s why.


Having covered the fight game as long as I have, there’s one common mistake I keep seeing many of the sport’s greatest continue to make. They stay in the game even when their body can no longer do what their brain wants done. Simply put, they still possess all of the experience gained through the years but are unable to use it as effectively as before. Eventually it leads to being branded with the cliché, “he got old overnight”.


That’s exactly what we witnessed when Klitschko lost for the first time in over 12 years, to Tyson Fury. Sure, Fury is a very unorthodox fighter and can be a nightmare to prepare for because of it. He was also one of the tallest opponents Wlad had faced in a long time, which negated one of his greatest advantaged. Klitschko had been taught to fight tall when the late trainer Emanuel Steward began working with him and ultimately helped make him a complete fighter.


Personally, I believe those are all excuses which a younger version of Wladimir Klitschko would’ve been able to overcome. But today’s version just didn’t have any answers and more importantly, wasn’t even able to let his hands go, which is always one of the most telling signs of an aging fighter.


Many fight fans will be surprised at just how skilled Joshua truly is. He’s got an extremely impressive amateur background which has provided the foundation needed to be more than simply a big puncher. Joshua is more than a knock-out artist trying to land that one big punch. Instead, he’s got the type of skill set which is necessary to deal with the ring IQ of Klitschko.


The knock against him is that he’s yet to face top level opponents and he lacks experience. Obviously those are both true but they are also facts which all great fighters have had to face early on in their careers. Anthony Joshua has all of the tools needed to become elite and also dominate the heavyweight division for a long time.






These 2 fighters spent a lot of time inside the ring together already, back when Joshua was hired to help prepare and spar with Klitschko in the past. That familiarity should provide for a tight chess match especially early on even though Joshua is known to start quickly. Also, the challenger’s game plan should revolve around attempting to get the fight into deeper waters. Klitschko is cerebral to begin with and he’s well aware that Joshua hasn’t faced much adversity thus far as a professional. There is always more risk of an early finish when the heavyweights enter the ring, but I believe this one will reach the later rounds.