Wladimir Klitschko badly wants to beat IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua next month to become a three-time world champion. According to Wladimir’s trainer Jonathon Banks, he’s obsessed with beating Joshua to become a world champion again. Banks sees the 41-year-old Klitschko as this era’s version of George Foreman.
For the boxing fans that don’t remember, Foreman retired from the sport for 10 years and then came back at age 39 and toiled away until winning a world title at age 45. Wladimir isn’t quite as old or as overweight as Foreman was, but his accomplishment will be somewhat similar.
“Wladimir is obsessed with his goal to become a rare-breed three-time heavyweight champion,” said Banks to Sky Sports News HQ. “The last dinosaur in the heavyweight division was George Foreman, who won a world title at 45. I believe Wladimir is the dinosaur of this generation.”
Wladimir has a much tougher obstacle in front of him than Foreman. Wladimir is facing the 6’6” Joshua, who is in his prime. In Foreman’s case, he fought the much smaller 6’2”, 222 lb. Michael Moorer for his IBF/WBA heavyweight titles in 1994. The 6’4”, 250 lb. Foreman had a 28 lb. weight advantage over Moorer. It was a size mismatch.
A younger version of Foreman likely would have knocked Moorer out in 1 or 2 rounds. But the 45-year-old Foreman had to take a lot of punishment before he eventually knocked Moorer out in round 10. Foreman had a good chin and was able to take the punishment. Wladimir hasn’t shown the ability during his career to take a lot of punishment. If Joshua starts landing anything on April 29, he’s likely going to knock Wladimir out quickly. In Wladimir’s knockout losses during his career, he’s been knocked out fast when his opponents would start landing.
Wladimir’s best and possibly his only hope is if he comes out firing on all cylinders in the 1st round against Joshua on April 29. If Wladimir can get to Joshua with a big power shot in round 1 or 2, he could knock him out. Wladimir still has massive power in either hand. If Wladimir hits Joshua with one of his big left hooks, he could stop him right away. Joshua has packed on a lot of muscle since he turned pro, but his chin is obviously going to be the same as it was before.
If Wladimir pulls off an upset and beats Joshua, he’s going to have a difficult time holding onto the IBF/WBA titles. Cuban Luis Ortiz will be a big threat to Wladimir. That would be another hard fight for him.