Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko both looked in magnificent condition, and stepped on the scale on Friday, one day away from their truly anticipated clash at Wembley Stadium in England, to watched by 90,000 plus persons.
Klitschko (64-4; age 41), no surprise, looked to be as fit as can be; he scaled 240 pounds, the same as he was for his 2009 clash with Ruslan Chagaev (Chagaev folded after round nine). Back then, nobody was there to put a scare into him, as he won easily in challenge after challenge. Today, Joshua is seen as the favored fighter, the one to put that final nail in a coffin crafted with glee by Father Time, an evil artisan who takes down every living soul.
The 27 year old Brit, soft spoken, ultra polite and not the one to root for if you prefer your heavyweight icons to be prone to threatening to eat the offspring of a hated foe, scaled at 250 pounds. One or two eyebrows raised, of those seeking to gain insight into what might happen in a fight to screen live on the Showtime premium cable channel at 4:15 PM ET, as Joshua was 243 when he downed Dominic Breazeale last June. But he was 249 and looked BMI-appropriate when demolishing Eric Molina on Dec. 10.
The WBA, IBF and IBO title belts are up for grabs. Deontay Wilder holds the WBC version and Joseph Parker the WBO strap, so the winner of this one still has some work to do if they seek to achieve total unity in consolidating the heavyweight baubles. Still, the winner tomorrow, especially if the triumph is performed in conclusive fashion, will widely be seen as THE MAN in the sport.
There is no shortage of pundits and fans and powers that be which hope with fingers and toes crossed that the 18-0 Joshua wins, via vicious KO, and the sport has a heavyweight champion that can be easily identified and rooted for. That goes a very long way when assessing the health and wll being of boxing; too many persons walking down Main St, USA, when asked who the heavyweight champion is, would hazard a not confident guess of, “Mike Tyson?”
Showtime shows this meaningful bout live, and then the HBO crew’s version will unfold later that night, after the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 2017 induction show.
Here is the release Showtime sent out after the weigh-in:
IBF Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua tipped the scale at 250 pounds and long-reigning champ Wladimir Klitschko measured 240 ½ pounds for their heavyweight blockbuster this Saturday live on SHOWTIME (4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT).
The ringwalks are set for 4:35 p.m. ET/1:35 p.m. PT with the first bell scheduled for 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT from sold-out Wembley Stadium where a record-setting 90,000 fans will witness the biggest heavyweight event in over a decade. SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®pre-fight coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT with all the grand pre-fight pageantry from London.
Referee David Fields, of New Jersey, will officiate the action while Don Trella (Conn.), Nelson Vazquez (Puerto Rico) and Steve Weisfeld (N.J.) will score the 12-round bout for Joshua’s IBF belt and the vacant WBA title.
More than 150 countries worldwide will televise the heavyweight unification.
“I’m only going to be myself – the fight is already as big as it can be,” said the 27-year-old Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), who will make the third defense of his IBF belt. “There’s belts on the line, there’s legacy on the line, there’s 12 rounds of intense, ferocious boxing on the line. It comes with everything you want to see – boxing skills, power, timing. It’s just how long you can last and withstand each other’s abilities.
“I don’t hate Klitschko, I don’t dislike Klitschko, but I want to beat Klitschko. Someone is going to win and someone is going to continue with their career. And I’m very confident that’s me.”
The 41-year-old Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) has competed in 28 world title fights and is the second longest reigning world champion in history. On Saturday he will attempt to win back two titles that he held during his 11-year reign as heavyweight world champion.
“This is a big step for AJ,” Klitschko admitted. “He hasn’t fought this type of quality fighter yet. It’s going to be challenging for him, and it’s going to be challenging for me. This fight is 50-50, both fighters have a chance to win the fight, but I have this feeling that this is my night.”