05272017

Joshua v Klitschko – who wins? Do the pundits agree? Who gets your vote?

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Joshua & Klitschko face off ahead of heavyweight boxing showdown

So much hype, so much on the line, so many opinions.

Around 90,000 people will pack into Wembley Stadium on Saturday to see IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua attempt to add the vacant WBA belt to his collection when he faces the division’s once dominant force Wladimir Klitschko.

A 14-year age gap between the 27-year-old Briton and a fighter he once assisted as a sparring partner means some pundits have styled the bout as apprentice meets master.

But it’s Joshua who starts as odds-on favourite. Does he justify that status? BBC Sport asked some familiar faces from the world of boxing about how they see things shaping up and, of course, we want your verdict too.

You decide…

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please visit the BBC Sport website to vote.

The next undisputed champion?

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Perfect time for Anthony Joshua to fight Klitschko – Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis, the last man to be undisputed heavyweight champion, told BBC Radio 5 live: “Now is the perfect time for Joshua, because Wladimir Klitschko has a chink in his armour in getting beaten by Tyson Fury.

“With the age aspect of Klitschko, he doesn’t have the legs, the power that he used to. There are a lot of different factors going on in his life as well.

“I believe Joshua is more focused. Does he want to be undisputed champion? Absolutely.”

Did you know? Lewis, Joshua and Klitschko all won Olympic gold but only Joshua and the late Joe Frazier became world champions while still Olympic champion.

Joshua needs patience to beat a ‘master’

Joshua holds a record of 18 wins from 18 fights, while Klitschko has 64 wins and four losses<!–

Joshua has won all 18 of his professional fights, while Klitschko has 64 wins and four losses

Former world super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall: “Klitschko controls the fight better when people are going to him. He’s a master at adjusting his feet and keeping a gap, an absolute master.

“I think the victory for Joshua will come by boxing at a distance and making Klitschko come forward.

“I see Joshua winning the fight in the mid to late rounds, around the seventh or eighth. I think Joshua will stop him eventually and catch him with a solid shot.

“At 41, you have to ask how long Klitschko can go on at this level. It will take a hell of a performance to beat Joshua, who I don’t think will come out swinging, but will box intelligently. If he goes wading in, he could walk in to a trap.”

Did you know? Joshua has spent less than two hours in the ring as a professional on his way to 18 knockout wins in 18 fights.

‘Joshua will be nervous’

Joshua and Klitschko face off<!–

Joshua was seven when Klitschko made his professional debut

Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch, who beat George Groves at Wembley Stadium in 2014: “This is Joshua’s first real test at world level. This is his acid test and against a veteran who can punch, box and move to survive when he needs to.

“I think Joshua will be nervous. Wembley Stadium will add to those nerves and I don’t think they will help him. I don’t think he will enjoy it like I did. Purely because there is a lot of pressure on him – he’s expected to win and has this massive task.

“He needs to try and enjoy it. They say cometh the hour cometh the man. He really needs to switch on and live up to what everyone expects of him.”

Did you know? Joshua’s weight of 17st 12lbs is the heaviest of his career to date.

‘Joshua’s skills leave a lot to be desired’

Tyson Fury (right) connects with Klitschko's chin<!–

Tyson Fury pulled off one of the great boxing upsets when he beat Klitschko in November 2015

Peter Fury, who trained nephew Tyson to beat Klitschko, told BBC Radio 5 live: “Klitschko probably folds his bed sheets a certain way. So what do you give someone who is a perfectionist? Give him everything he hates. Upset his rhythm, fire shots from all angles.

“I think it’s too soon for Joshua. I think his boxing skills leave a lot to be desired. I think he gets hit far too easy, especially with the jab. On a world level you can’t be open like that.

“I think a lot of it is inexperience. Ultimately if you’ve got a leaky defence in the heavyweight division, I don’t care if you have dynamite in both hands, you are coming unstuck sooner or later.”

Did you know? Klitschko has knocked out 53 of his 68 opponents.

Be aware of Wlad’s right hand

Klitschko's jab has become a trademark weapon over two decades as a pro<!–

Klitschko’s jab followed by a thumping right hand has become a trademark weapon

Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi: “It’s a matter of how much Klitschko has left. At his age, it’s probably not a good thing to have had a long lay-off. If he has anything left, he can trouble Joshua. The flicking of the jab, following it with the right hand – it can hurt Joshua, who doesn’t have a lot of head movement.

“I think Joshua is going to try to take it to Klitschko and be the boss. Joshua will try to counter the jab with his own right hand. In the end, I think youth will be too much, but Klitschko does have that dynamite right hand.”

Did you know? Klitschko could become one of the oldest world heavyweight champions, though George Foreman leads the way, capturing the honour aged 45.

Brotherly belief

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Klitschko records Joshua fight prediction on USB

Former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko told BBC Radio 5 live: “I’ve never seen my brother so concentrated.

“I want to say that Joshua is a great fighter, and has great skills, but he has never been at such a high level. He looks relaxed, like it will be easy. It will not be.

“Everyone has weaknesses; Wladimir’s is his concentration. If he is 100% concentrated, Joshua has no chance. Ask me about speed, power, experience, Wladimir is better.”

Did you know? Vitali had three spells as world heavyweight champion. Wladimir has two to his name so far.

‘Box over brawl’

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Joshua has left ‘no stone unturned’ for Klitschko fight

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Steve Bunce: “I don’t think Joshua can outbox Klitschko. I want to see a little bit of nerves, I want to see him sucking in some air, I want to see some sort of fear. If we don’t see that then whisper it, it makes him almost inhuman.

“Can Wladimir look like any of the old Wladimirs? Even a bad old Wladimir should be enough to beat this kid Anthony Joshua. I think an awful lot has been placed on the assumption, the dream, the hope, that Wladimir at 41 has nothing left. If that’s not the case then we are in for a tricky night.

“Joshua used his brain at the Olympics. That side of his game is there. Has he enough brain against a decent Klitschko?”

Did you know? Anthony Joshua only took up boxing in 2007, five years prior to his Olympic win. He had athletic pedigree though and ran 11.6 seconds for 100m aged 14.

‘Klitschko experience could be crucial’

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Wilder tips Klitschko to beat Joshua

WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder: “My heart is with Joshua, my mind is with Klitschko. I think experience will play its part. With experience you’ve seen things before and are more able to capitalise when you face them again.

“Can you pull the trigger? Can your body react as fast as you see it? That’s the only thing with Klitschko. Sometimes age is nothing but a number and it’s about what’s in your head.”

Did you know? Klitschko weighed in 5lbs lighter than when he lost to Tyson Fury in 2015.

‘Joshua on the verge of greatness’

Joshua does a neck strengthening exercise<!–

Joshua has lived at his Sheffield-based training camp throughout his preparations

Promoter Eddie Hearn told BBC Radio 5 live: “There is a chance in this fight Joshua could be completely out of his depth. And there is a chance he goes out there and is the fighter we believe he is and he dismantles Klitschko.

“I love Klitschko because he’s a competitor. To tame the young lion would probably be the greatest night of his career.

“If Joshua wins he becomes the biggest star in British sport and in the world of boxing.”

Get all the latest boxing news leading up to the Joshua-Klitschko fight, sent straight to your device with notifications in the BBC Sport app. Find out more here.

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