Beat­ing Kl­itschko would make me a legend: Joshua

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bri­tain’s heavy­weight world cham­pion Anthony Joshua says beat­ing Ukrainian vet­eran Wladimir Kl­itschko in their mouth­wa­ter­ing show­down for the IBF and WBA crowns next April would en­ti­tle him to be called a legend.

The 27-year-old 2012 Olym­pic cham­pion-who de­fended his IBF ti­tle suc­cess­fully last Satur­day against Amer­i­can jour­ney­man Eric Molina-will face off against Kl­itschko on April 29 at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium and said the bout could be a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for him. “A knock­out is the cherry on top but to win, which­ever way, is very pos­si­ble,” said Joshua at a press con­fer­ence also at­tended by Kl­itschko at Wem­b­ley on Wed­nes­day. “This is a fight that can change one from cham­pion to legend overnight. “It will draw masses of at­ten­tion and they are the type of fights that can change the way peo­ple view you.”

Kl­itschko, who will be 41 by the time the bout takes place, said he has stayed in the sport since los­ing his WBA, IBF and WBO belts in a surprise de­feat by trou­bled Bri­tish pugilist Tyson Fury in Novem­ber 2015 ex­pressly to re­gain his ti­tles.

“I am ob­sessed with my goal to be­come the cham­pion again,” said Kl­itschko, who has not fought since that de­feat.

Johsua, who is 18-0 in his pro­fes­sional ca­reer and has never been taken the dis­tance, con­ceded that while Kl­itschko might be on the el­derly side for a boxer con­test­ing a world ti­tle it did not make him any less dan­ger­ous. “I know what they mean when the say the old lion still roars and I know what that ob­ses­sion is like be­cause I live with that same ob­ses­sion, it’s just a clash of the ti­tans,” said Joshua, who was a spar­ring part­ner for Kl­itschko early in his pro­fes­sional ca­reer. “In life you have to pre­pare for the un­pre­dictable so you just never know. “This is the step up peo­ple want to see, what more can I ask for? I’m true to my­self, true to my sport and that’s why I’m ready for any chal­lenge.”

‘FOL­LOW­ING IN MY FOOT­STEPS’

Their press con­fer­ence was con­ducted in a dig­ni­fied and re­spect­ful man­ner which would have de­lighted the pro­mot­ers af­ter two rowdy re­cent press con­fer­ences.

For­mer world heavy­weight cham­pion David Haye threw a punch at his next op­po­nent Tony Bellew and Dereck Chiso­rawho lost to Kl­itschko in a ti­tle chal­lenge­hurled a ta­ble.

“It’s amaz­ing that two fight­ers aren’t throw­ing ta­bles or punch­ing each other or say­ing what they’re go­ing to do to each other,” re­marked Kl­itschko. Kl­itschko said his re­spect­ful at­ti­tude would not change to­wards Joshua. “I was, I am and I will be very com­pli­men­tary of him (Joshua),” said Kl­itschko.

“The first time I saw him per­form in 2012 when he be­came Olym­pic cham­pion here in Lon­don, I felt he was fol­low­ing in my foot­steps. “What­ever the out­come, I truly be­lieve he is one of the best heavy­weights right now. I think Anthony is an ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing ath­lete. It’s great that even­tu­ally we meet.”

Kl­itschko ad­mit­ted even to ad­dress­ing Joshua s ‘lit­tle bro’-al­though he added it didn’t mean he would go easy on him in the ring. “We are friends in a cer­tain way,” said Kl­itschko.

“I did call him lit­tle bro’ but even when I am in the ring with my bro’, I am very com­pet­i­tive.” — AFP

LON­DON: Bri­tain’s Anthony Joshua (L) and Ukraine’s Wladimir Kl­itschko (R) take part in a press con­fer­ence at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in north west Lon­don yes­ter­day. Ukraine’s Wladimir Kl­itschko will fight Bri­tain’s Anthony Joshua on April 29, 2017 at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in Lon­don — AFP

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