Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO knows he could beat Anthony Joshua and looks set to make a decision on a potential rematch before the end of the month, according to his manager Bernd Boente.
The 41-year-old traded knockdowns with Joshua in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium last month before being stopped in the 11th round in one of the most dramatic heavyweight title fights of all time.
‘Dr Steelhammer’ – who has the option to exercise his right to a rematch – is currently on holiday but will make a decision on his future in the coming weeks.
“As you can imagine, he was absolutely disappointed after the fight in the locker room while we were all sitting together,” Boente told Boxing News.
“Now he feels better, he’s on vacation in Florida with his wife and daughter, relaxing a little bit and he’ll make his decision very quickly when he gets back, the latest at the beginning of June, or maybe in between, what his next step will be. That next step could be the rematch or that he retires, but that’s up to him.”
Joshua steamrolled into Klitschko in the fifth and floored him before badly running out of energy and being forced into survival mode. Klitschko dropped him with a brutal right hand in the following stanza, but Joshua rose and weathered the storm until his second wind came and he dropped and stopped Wladimir in the 11th.
Though two of the scoring judges at ringside had ‘AJ’ ahead at the time of the stoppage, there were many who thought Klitschko was leading the fight. Showing phenomenal fitness and footwork for someone coming off the back of a 17 month hiatus, Klitschko also proved many doubters wrong.
“He’s not that disappointed anymore, he knows that he made some mistakes but he also knows that he could beat Anthony,” Boente continued.
“He showed that. Two, three more punches in round six or even round seven and he would’ve been the winner. He knows that and he will discuss it with his coach and then I think the decision for him has to be; will I again go through three months of hard training to show up in the same condition as I did at Wembley, or will I not do it? That is up to him and we’ll leave it to him and he’ll let us know.”
Klitschko will speak to his team and those close to him with regards to his future. Boente has already spoken with Wladimir about what he wants him to do next, but understandably is keeping that conversation private.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, would like to see a rematch, which could potentially take place at the Principality Stadium (formerly known as the Millenium Stadium) in Cardiff toward the end of the year.
Boente feels that Klitschko’s performance in the first fight is more than enough evidence to show that Wladimir could win a rematch, and even hinted at a potential trilogy.
“He discusses this with his brother, with myself, with his coach and then makes a decision. It’s not that he has to worry that he has no chance in the rematch,” he said.
“It was surprising that Wladimir got up in the fifth round and it was surprising that Joshua got up in the sixth round.
“When we all left the stadium we all knew we’d seen one of the best heavyweight fights ever. This reminded me of the three [Riddick] Bowe-[Evander] Holyfield fights. And they had three fights, so let’s see. Why not?”