Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
ANTHONY JOSHUA and Wladimir Klitschko came head to head at Wembley Stadium today to announce their blockbuster 2017 clash.
The heavyweight stars will contest for Joshua’s IBF title and the vacant WBA title on April 29.
Unlike the recent conferences we’ve seen in the UK recently, there was plenty of mutual respect between the two former sparring partners.
“Knockout is the cheery on top, but to win, whichever way I think is very possible. This is a fight that change from champion to legend overnight. If we can get the masses out, they’re the type of fights that can change the way people view you,” Joshua said.
“Right now, I’m champion of the world but now it’s time to beat the right people to go down history. This is just the start of that legendary campaign.
“It’s all about winning, at the end of the day it’s another fight. When I look back, it’s history. It’s an amazing opportunity. The time is now. It’s a man I need to defeat and it’s time to build my reputation and respect in the division. When I first turned pro I was questioned ‘when are you going to fight him?’ I’ve always said it to myself and everything I say to myself becomes reality.
“No game plan from Tyson Fury, I can’t take anything away from watching Klitschko perform that night. He’s very motivated about performing better than he did last time.”
A particularly enthusiastic Klitschko laid out how he plans to regain two of the world titles he lost to Tyson Fury last November.
“I am really glad and happy to be here. This stadium is famous worldwide and now Anthony and I have a chance to perform here,” he said.
“I will describe in five steps my dream, if you put these five steps together you get a fist. The first step is to become three time world champion. I’ve been holding myself back and I look forward to being back. Second: the consequences, what happens if? If Anthony wins I will congratulate him, when I win I will help him come back. In the first step obviously I need somebody to help me so we’ll have sparring partners secondly, my direct competitors who want to knock me out. Thirdly, we’ll probably look for the same guys because we’re the same size – different colours, but the rest is the same. The fourth step, I imagine standing in the middle of this stadium holding those belts in my hand, to all those fans, I’ve been fighting in an arena in 1999, I was walking in with 80,000 people. I was booed until the fifth round when I was cheered out, when I was holding the European title. It is my dream to hold those belts. Fifth and final step: I am obsessed with my first step.
“The setback for a year and a half, is it good, is it bad? I feel it’s good. I feel that my last performance was not good, I was not holding my hand up after the fight. My motivation is as high as the sky. I have to wake up, it was a wakeup call before this big event. I remember the words of Emmanuel Steward: ‘Wladimir, your signature fight will come up. He was right. This is a signature fight for us both.’”