Boxing By William Hill Online

William Hill is proud to sponsor Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko Championship match.

Article by Gareth A Davies who is a Boxing Correspondent for The Telegraph, London.

The proving time for Anthony Joshua has arrived. Right now, right here, with the reckoning of Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 spectators on Saturday night. England expects, and if Joshua is 'the real deal', now is the time when the 27-year-old must deliver, in his first real examination, against a man who is his equal in terms of being 6ft 6ins tall, 17 and a half stone, and vastly more experienced. This is Joshua's first elite opponent, the acid test of whether the rise of Joshua has been built on hype or solid foundation. We really don't know.

But victory for Joshua by blowing away Klitschko - as he has in eviscerating his first 18 opponents - is no guarantee against the Ukrainian who developed a machine-like defensive efficiency to go unbeaten for almost a decade and ink himself, by record at least if not excitement, into the pantheon of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

Klitschko knows how important victory for Joshua is in terms of his global projection, and is relishing being the underdog and the spoiler. There are so many question marks heading into this fight, so many imponderables.

Timing is everything in sport, and Joshua has the moment to show that the torch is changing hands. Iconic heavyweight champs have shifted the dial, and resonated in mainstream society, totemic inside and outside their sports, the right men at the right time, espousing either a visceral darkness or a generation-changing message. And Joshua has something very special. Clearly. The son of first generation Nigerian immigrants is a likeable man, and there is the sense that he has the support of the nation and that having had a checkered past, he wishes to inspire through his story. In the four years since winning a gold medal - as a raw novice - at London 2012, the man-mountain has claimed his first world title as a professional boxer, and created his own brand.

Defeat Klitschko and Joshua will rise from an emerging young star, to the biggest star in British sport, and close to being the biggest star in world boxing. Remain undefeated, win another six or seven fights, wipe out his rivals, and Joshua becomes a global sports star. A perfect resume for the next five years and he could become the first billionaire boxer.

Yet they say 'expect the unexpected' in boxing, and just one punch can imperfect the best-laid plans in puglism. The fight with Klitschko. moreover, is a very risky, 50/50 fight.

"I think you have to be true to yourself," explains Joshua. "I've always been this way and it has worked. That's why I don't go outside my comfort zone. It's the start of a legacy. If Klitschko wins, he'll say to himself, cool, I'm still the big bro. And if he loses he'll soon realise that the torch is changing hands and this is a completely different era. This is the start of a new legacy."

Joshua added: "Every era has heavyweights. Tyson, Lennox, Holyfield, Foreman, Frazier, Ali. Me, Tyson Fury, David Haye, Deontay Wilder, we have to get it on. Even in 12 months time, we have to do it. We can't wait any longer. We're all coming to the top of our game. It's a fight that has to happen sooner rather than later." That's tomorrow. And tomorrow. But now the reckoning. The Klitschko moment.

According to AJ's boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, he remains the most bankable commodity in the world of boxing at this moment, with added extras. Joshua, say many, because of his humble demeanor, is the man to restore dignity to the sport’s heavyweight crown, once called “the richest prize in sport” and once owned by Muhammad Ali, Smoking’ Joe Frazier, and George Foreman.

The work has been done, we are told. Joshua is ready. Klitschko is obsessed - and back. The former world heavyweight champion, is now 41. This fight will be his first since he relinquished his vast collection of title belts to another British heavyweight, Tyson Fury, in November 2015. Many believe it might represent his last. boxes not for money, he says, but for legacy, for the love of it, for redemption. Fakery, if it is there, will be exposed on either side when Saturday comes. That’s not in Joshua’s mind; and he will overlook nothing. "If I was to get caught up in the hype and start believing I'm better than everyone,” Joshua tells me, eyeing somewhere far in the distance, “that's probably when I'd start getting beaten. I think I'm confident in my ability, but not to the point where I start disrespecting my opponents, or slacking in the gym. I've got a contender's mentality, not the champion's mentality. That's what separates the guys at the top who stay there."

I see the fight, from a distance, going any one of several ways. But here's three scenarios: Klitschko uses jab and vast experience to outbox Joshua. Klitschko goes into his 69th fight with a tried and trusted method. He has proven to be a masterful boxer behind the jab, and at tying up opponents, leaning on them and later unleashing his big right hand and left hook. If Klitschko establishes his jab early and Joshua cannot find a way in, the Ukrainian could dominate the contest.

Conversely, Joshua could be too powerful for Klitschko. Joshua's youthfulness, speed, spite and ambition could see him overwhelm the former world No 1, who may have little left in the tank aged 41. If the Londoner lands on Klitschko, an onslaught could get him a finish. But bear in mind, nonetheless, that Klitschko has raised himself off the canvas in the past to claim victory. Joshua's best chance of victory in this fight is to get the job done inside the first 5 or 6 rounds.

It could be a shoot out, a slugfest, though it seems unlikely. If they engage in a power struggle, both men have the power to knock each other out. Klitschko has proven power have knocked out 53 opponents in 64 wins. A staggering 78 per cent knockout ratio over such a long period against so many challengers of varying styles, heights, reach and so on. Joshua has a 100 per cent KO/TKO ratio, but it took him seven rounds to stop both Dillian Whyte and Dominic Breazeale, and they are nowhere near the level of the Ukrainian. A shoot out could be more dangerous for Joshua.

Whatever happens, it remains a great occasion for the sport, the heavyweight division, and for the British fighter. And victory will herald the start of 'the Joshua era'.

Article by Gareth A Davies who is a Boxing Correspondent for The Telegraph, London.