Wladimir Klitschko dominated the boxing heavyweight division for a decade after suffering defeats to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. The turning point came when Klitschko moved to Detroit in the USA to train under Emanuel Steward, a change orchestrated by his manager Bernd Bönte.
In an interview with Vegas Insider, Bönte discusses the similarities between Klitschko and Joshua, as the Londoner actively considers a move stateside to resurrect his career after losing two contests in four outings.
Bernd Bonte: I see many psychological similarities between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua in their career path
“I recommended Emanuel Steward to Wladimir because Wladimir really didn’t feel very good after that loss to Corrie Sanders and he tested some different coaches as you’ll remember. And when I called Emanuel and set up a meeting between him and Wladimir the rest is history as we both know.
“With Emanuel’s support and his different tactics and his very close relationship, Wladimir came back stronger than he had ever been before and after that he was undefeated for almost ten years. AJ can do the same.
“Yes, absolutely there are similarities between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
“The psychology is very decisive here for AJ in the rematch, I mean, I think he’s a guy like Wladimir. He has to feel good before a fight, he needs a psychological high, not question marks in his head, and then he can win the fight.
“AJ’s tactics have been rightfully called into question but let’s not forget, especially looking at Wladimir’s losing performance against Corrie Sanders, that he’s not the first fighter that had a complete off night and he won’t be the last, but without question he can come back stronger.
“Anthony Joshua also has to feel good in the ring. I only know that psychology is the most decisive thing for AJ in the rematch and he has to solve that question, as well as the coaching question.”
Bernd Bonte: I am positive that AJ can still become the next member of the elite group along with Ali, Lennox, the Klitschkos and Holyfield
“I think AJ is a great guy for boxing, as well as his whole team, but the decision to change trainers is one that they have to make. I can only tell you that I rate Rob McCracken very highly, but if AJ wants to have an additional coach or some advisers from outside, I don’t know, that is a decision that he has to make.”
“It’s extremely important that he has complete trust in his coach and that they as a close team, choose the right strategy, and end the fight on a psychological high, that’s the most important thing in this case.
“If he makes the right decisions in his camp, I am very, very positive that AJ can become the next member of that elite group of three time heavyweight champions and be like: Ali, Lennox, Vitali, Evander. I think he needs to make the right changes and he’ll be back on track.
“I believe that if AJ goes into that rematch on a psychological high with his team, with certain changes, he can win. AJ is a smart guy and his team too. Rob knows the business, knows his boxing, they know what to change, they know what kind of mistake they made.”
Bernd: Bonte: AJ must use his size advantage in the Usyk rematch and fight as the big dog… I predict a rematch win
“Usyk is someone you don’t want to fight if it’s not a must; a southpaw, very flexible, very mobile, good movement, good head movement, good upper body movement. Huge amateur background with 350 amateur fights, I mean the guy knows everything.
“AJ has to fight as the big dog, he has to. I mean he’s the bigger puncher, he’s taller, he’s 17 stone he has to fight like the big dog and put pressure on Usyk. It’s hard because the guy is a flexible, good counter boxer, but if AJ lets his jab go and throws more combinations and more right hands and puts more pressure on him, takes a higher risk, he has a good chance to win that fight.
“He got too reluctant and in the rematch he needs to go all in, it’s all or nothing. He has to take more risks. One thing for sure, if Usyk gets into his rhythm he’s hard to beat so what you have to avoid is that and what you have to be is on him, and to pressure him, and still it’s a very difficult fight.
“I think AJ wins that fight, the rematch. My gut feeling tells me that AJ comes back stronger and wins that fight. On points or a late knockout.”