With the imminent arrival of an announcement that once again, Anthony Joshua will fight Wladimir Klitschko, we look at how Part II could pan out.
Joshua, current IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight champion of the world, is poised to take on former two-time world champion Klitschko on November 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The first fight saw Klitschko floored in the 5th, Joshua down in 6th and Klitschko knocked out in the 11th.
In a thrilling encounter, both were fighting against their toughest opponent to-date. Joshua had knocked out all his previous opponents, whilst Klitschko had not fought anyone (Tyson Fury aside) noteworthy in many years.
After the fight, it was revealed that Joshua had emptied the tank after knocking Klitschko down in the 5th round, leaving him with no energy to fight back until the 7th.
In addition, Wladimir Klitschko’s older brother, former world champion, Vitali Klitschko, admitted to advising his brother, after seeing Joshua hit the deck, not to go for the knockout until later in the fight. He believed all of Joshua’s muscles would tire quicker than the leaner Wladimir, leaving him open to knock out in the latter stages of the fight.
Klitschko will be kicking himself knowing that Joshua narrowly escaped a shock knockout loss to the 41-year-old Ukrainian.
However, it’s certainly hard to see Joshua giving his opponent that golden opportunity in the rematch. He will have learnt so much from that fight, including what it takes to floor Klitschko and how to pace himself over a long fight (he is still yet to see the twelfth round).
The likelihood is both fighters will go for the knockout earlier. It will make an even better fight than the first if they go toe-to-toe for four rounds, but it can’t possibly last any longer as neither have got strong enough chins.
Regardless of which round Joshua wins in, it won’t generate as much hysteria as the first fight did. He is just beating a 41-year-old man who he’s already knocked out.
Should Klitschko pull off a victory, it really would have to be his last fight. There would be no better way to end his career than avenging his most recent loss and retiring as a three-time world heavyweight champion.
If Joshua was beaten, and lost his belts, it would probably be more beneficial in the long-run. He would have no say in who he wanted to fight, he would merely have to chase whoever had a belt or fight a high-ranked opponent to get himself into a mandatory position.
His promoter, Eddie Hearn, has expressed the idea of vacating a belt anyway if having to fight a mandatory stopped Joshua from being in the biggest fights.
The IBF belt means he must fight Kubrat Pulev, hardly a crowd-pleaser. Then eventually his WBA belt will require him to fight Luis Ortiz, another unappealing prospect.
WBC champion Deontay Wilder is the biggest fight currently out there for Joshua. Not only does he possess a belt, he also brings entertainment outside the ring with his brash persona and flashy appearance.
Former unified heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, is arguably his biggest fight also. However, his pending drug trial result, weight and ring action mean the fight is unlikely to happen even in 2018.
Joshua has it all to lose and nothing to gain come the rematch in November, he must choose his next opponent after that very carefully if he wants to keep his ever-growing fanbase.