This was my facebook blog entry on the morning of the world heavyweight title contest between the Briton Anthony Joshua and the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko. While Klitschko is a vastly experienced former champion who has made more title defences than any other heavyweight champion in history save the great Joe Louis, Joshua is a relative neophyte. Klitschko went into the fight with 27 world title bouts behind him in contrast to Joshua having only fought a total of 18 professional fights.
The Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko bout is the biggest fight in Britain for many years. The fight which I most liken it to is Barry McGuigan’s successful world title challenge of Eusebio Pedroza’s version of the world featherweight title in 1985.
Where McGuigan was the poster boy of peace for the violent sectarianism of Northern Ireland, Joshua is the poster boy of ‘urban’ social mobility in 21st century Britain. The analogy arguably holds tight in the sense that although Joshua holds a version of the world heavyweight title, it was Tyson Fury and not Joshua who dethroned Klitschko. That, together with Joshua’s comparative inexperience, makes him a challenger of sorts.
Victory for Joshua -and a clear and divisive one at that- will mark a formal changing of the guard in heavyweight boxing in a way that Fury’s landmark victory should have been held out but which is now dimmed by the controversies that have followed him as well as his absence from the boxing scene.
No need for predictions, it’s just a question of getting out the popcorn, the beer or whatever takes your fancy and leaning back on the sofa to savour a most intriguing bout!
© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.