Joshua can begin heavyweight division dominance with Wembley win over Klitschko
Lee Gormley | 10 January 2017
Joshua looks ahead to Klitschko date at Wembley
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua continued his destructive path through the division when dispatching American challenger Eric Molina inside just three rounds on his welcomed return to Manchester.
The Manchester Arena crowd were treated to a host of enthralling fights on the undercard, including a dramatic contest involving Frank Buglioni and Hosea Burton and a slugfest between rivals Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora.
Although, it was another brutal knockout victory for Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and subsequent announcement regarding his next outing which gave the audience much more to shout about, as his showdown with Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) was confirmed for April 29th at Wembley.
In a scrap which could potentially see the passing of the heavyweight baton early in 2017, Joshua is 11/2 with Coral to maintain his rampant run by stopping Klitschko inside rounds 1-3, as he aims to begin his division dominance in London.
Wembley the scene for AJ’s next success?
The reigning IBF champion again made light work of his second title defence against Texan Molina, putting the veteran brawler away inside three rounds after barely being challenged at all during proceedings.
That came on the back of a tougher maiden defence against Dominic Breazeale, though it was a similar story back at the O2 Arena in June as ‘AJ’ floored the United States native in the seventh.
Much has been made of the selection of Joshua’s opponents so far in his swiftly progressive career in the paid ranks, though he will finally make an awaited step up in class when tackling one of the greatest heavyweights in history next year.
‘Dr Steelhamer’ will take to the ring at 13/8 to become the first man to get the better of Joshua, in what is set to be one of the most anticipated meetings of 2017 in the capital. Meanwhile, ‘AJ’ is seen as the odds-on 1/2 favourite, with such a price testament to his incredible rise in just three years.
The 27-year-old has rarely looked troubled so far in 18 outings, with Whyte being the only fighter to have caused him some cause for concern back in December last year, and he is 11/2 to go the distance for the first time with a points win next April.
No better time to face Klitschko
With Joshua preparing to take to the squared-circle at Wembley on a surge of 18 straight stoppage successes, it’s a contrast for the most dominant heavyweight for the last decade.
Klitschko will arrive in London next year for what will be his first outing in over 16 months, since being emphatically dethroned by Tyson Fury in Germany during November 2015.
With the Ukrainian set to be 41 when coming up against Joshua in this blockbuster billing at Wembley, and having suffered from several injury setbacks in recent months, it could be the best possible time for the home favourite.
When Klitschko clinched his first world title from Chris Byrd during the turn of the Millennium, his imminent opponent ‘AJ’ was only 11, but it’s the latter more youthful fighter that is installed as the front-runner for success in this highly-awaited match-up.
A triumph for the British battering ram would finally see him banish any of those still doubting his credentials, but it could also trigger what he will hope to be start of his division dominance for years to come.
Wilder and co await beyond Wembley
If Joshua can conquer Klitschko in front of a packed-out Wembley crowd and claim the crowning glory of his career so far, he would subsequently set up a host of exciting future meetings too.
David Haye collides with Tony Bellew in a grudge match next March and has outlined intentions of facing ‘AJ’ in what would be an intriguing all-British battle. Hard-hitting New Zealander Joseph Parker recently lifted the WBO crown too, so could also be in line for an exciting unification clash next year.
Meanwhile, undefeated former unified champion Fury lies in wait and a returning encounter against Joshua would be arguably the most attractive pairing possible in the division. Though the Mancunian has not given any indication of a comeback as of yet.
Following previous deals with TV networks in the States, a unification mega-fight with WBC title holder Deontay Wilder looks to be what promoter Eddie Hearn is building towards in future.
Such a meeting would sure provide a spectacle, if both remain unbeaten and continue their respective KO streaks, in what would therefore be a potential meeting on American soil.
All of that of course requires Joshua to overcome Klitschko on April 29th next year but, with the Watford-born champion looking like an unstoppable heavyweight machine at present, that seems the most likely outcome of 2017’s outlined Wembley super-fight.
What do you think of the early Joshua v Klitschko odds and how do you see the fight going in April? Have your say below in our comments section!