Long dominant undisputed heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has seen a lot in his time in boxing, yet in “25 years” the giant Ukrainian claims never to have seen as good a prospect as Britain’s unbeaten former Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua.
Klitschko spent some time with the Brit in training camp last year, and is full of praise for the man who goes into his first significant title fight on September 12th, when he faces Scotland’s Gary Cornish for the vacant Commonwealth title.
“I’ve faced a lot of athletes and opponents and in the last 25 years (yet) there is one person who has the potential to become a really big star in boxing,” Klitschko told BBC Radio.
“Not only inside the ring but that person – and I’m talking about Anthony Joshua – has qualities that not many guys have had.
“Either they had good skills but not the strength, or they had strength but not the skills. Or they were good inside the ring but not outside because their life outside messed them up and that reflected on their sporting career.
“I think Anthony has all the tools to become the great champion inside and outside the ring.”
Yet Klitschko, who recently signed a 5 fight extension with his German broadcast partner RTL, has warned he isn’t going anywhere just yet and said he “could not exclude” facing the young knockout artist at some stage later in his career, although in reality, such a fight is highly unlikely to ever happen.
“He needs to improve and eventually it will happen, if I stay where I am today.”
“You cannot pass me since I’ve been holding the titles for many years, so if you want to get onto my mountain then you will have to face me,” said the 39 year old champion.
Wladimir fights Tyson Fury on October 24th in Dusseldorf, Germany.