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Repeat, revenge or a pointless exercise? AJ vs WK 2

Repeat, revenge or a pointless exercise? AJ vs WK 2

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

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.

Tony Bellew – The in-demand heavyweight with only one feasible fight

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

After the events of March 4th at the O2 in London, Tony Bellew proudly declared that he was the most wanted heavyweight, aside from the belt-holding champions, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.

Fast-forward nearly five months later, and he has ruled out fighting both Joshua and Wilder due to believing they are ‘too big’.

Parker is contractually-obliged to fight his WBO mandatory, Hughie Fury (cousin of Tyson), leaving Tony Bellew with only two realistic opponents for the near-future.

Two-weight world champion and widely-regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter, Andre Ward has expressed an interest. Although this is a man who has fought at super-middleweight (three weight-divisions below heavyweight) for most of his career.

Some may point out that Tony Bellew formerly fought at light-heavyweight, Ward’s current weight. However, when you consider that Bellew and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, laughed off suggestions of a fight against Chris Eubank Jr. who is only an inch smaller than Ward and a current super-middleweight champion, it leaves you with questions.

Ward may have held world titles and beaten the likes of Carl Froch, but he is still relatively unknown to the boxing casuals, despite a career spanning nearly 13 years.

As a result, there is far less money to be made in this fight. Bellew has admitted he has two fights left at most so they must be the most financially-rewarding.

This leaves only one man for the Liverpudlian, his fierce rival, David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye. The pay-per-view buys for their first fight were around three-quarters of a million, a second fight could certainly come close to nearly a million.

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

Image courtesy of Jumpy News via Flickr

Love him or hate him, Haye brings a huge audience for several reasons. He is a former two-weight world champion, good-looking, charismatic and controversial. With the gift of the gab, he has talked himself into big fights and drawn huge audiences despite a career plagued by injuries.

The demand for a rematch is so great due to, firstly, the pre-fight antics, where both fighters expressed what appeared to be a genuine hatred for the other in somewhat comic fashion.

From Bellew leaping out of the ring at the end of his last fight, to Haye’s impression of Eddie Hearn, it became the most talked-about grudge match around.

However, the main reason for such high demand is down to Haye visibly rupturing his Achilles in the 6th round of their first bout.

The Londoner had appeared to be dragging his leg for the first five rounds, hinting at an already-present injury. It only became apparent in the 6th, after which, Haye struggled to stand up for the next five rounds.

Many believed that a fully-fit Haye would knock-out Bellew. This appears to still be the case due to Bellew being unable to stop a one-legged Haye for five rounds.

It certainly would end one huge year for British boxing.