On Saturday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. ET, the fight world will shift its collective gaze across the Atlantic Ocean to Wembley Stadium in London to watch Wladimir Klitschko take on Anthony Joshua in the heavyweight bout of the century, which will air live exclusively on Showtime.
Klitschko has said repeatedly that he’s “obsessed” with winning, and getting his belts back in his corner. For Joshua, though, talk is cheap and he’s done little of it leading up to the fight.
However, at the final press conference for the fight on Thursday afternoon, Joshua laid out pretty simply what he thinks is going to happen when these two titans square off on Saturday.
“I win,” Joshua told reporters when asked for a prediction. “It’s not complicated. Let’s not overthink it. This isn’t rocket science. This is just a fight. Let’s strip it right back to what it is – a young lion, ferocious, hungry, very determined. I left no stone unturned in training camp. We do talk about experience, but even when I was fighting guys with lesser experience I was preparing for this. I’ve prepared since day one for this.”
While Joshua’s matter-of-fact manner has endeared him to fans across London and the world and he’s treating this fight like it’s any other, he does recognize the significance, and won’t be afraid to show it should he defeat Klitschko and retain his title.
“You can’t deny it… This is epic,” Joshua told reporters. “As much as I’m calm, when I look around and see how pumped people are for this fight it gives me energy, it gives me life. So it would be hard for me to hold myself together after such an amazing event.”
During the press conference, Klitschko was equal parts nostalgic about his incredible career and journey and jubilant about the fight yet to come against Joshua.
“Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing – 27 years,” Klitschko posited. “Can you imagine that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great. I’m the challenger again. I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again.”
“I’m so obsessed with winning. I realized that life is a circle, and I see myself in AJ. I do believe I know how he thinks, how he goes, and how the actual fight is going to be.”
Boxing, and especially the heavyweight division, is at a turning point. The fight between Joshua and Klitschko could signal either a changing of the guard should Joshua emerge victorious, or a stay of eviction of Klitschko as the class of the heavyweight division.
Either way, both fighters recognize the significance of the moment they’re partaking in.
“Absolutely, this is 110 percent a pivotal moment for boxing,” Joshua said.