Back when Wladimir Klitschko suffered a heavy stoppage defeat at the hands of Lamon Brewster, when Klitschko punched himself out and then fell from sheer exhaustion, there were plenty of “experts” insisting Wladimir was finished, washed up. Done.
This was, after all, the third loss of Klitschko’s pro career, each of them being a stoppage loss (Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders, Brewster). But as we all know, “Dr. Steel Hammer” regrouped, changed his style (and his trainer) and he went on to dominate the heavyweight division for around a decade.
Now, in speaking with Sky Sports, the retired (and content) 45-year-old who last fought against Anthony Joshua, losing in a great fight in April of 2017, says AJ can do what he did and come back.
“We have seen AJ challenged,” Wladimir said. “I remember my time. I lost two fights within [13 months in 2003 and 2004]. To bounce back? To eventually become one of the longest-reigning champions? AJ can still have his time, absolutely. It is all about how to overcome the challenge.”
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) September 30, 2021
The challenge facing Joshua is to come back and get revenge over Oleksandr Usyk, who handed AJ his second loss this past Saturday night. There is talk of the contractually bound return fight perhaps coming as soon as February of next year. Can Joshua up his game, as he says, correct his mistakes, and regain the titles? Some say yes, others say no, he cannot. There is no denying the talent and the specialness of Usyk. Wladimir too is impressed with the new WBA/IBF/WBO champ.
“Since 2012, I watched Usyk winning his [Olympic] gold and I watched AJ winning his gold,” Wladimir said. “Usyk has been undefeated for such a long time, winning all the titles as a cruiserweight and now with the heavyweight titles. This man is something special.
Usyk, 19-0(13) is indeed something special (and how fascinating would it have been to see Usyk face Wladimir!). Now, can Anthony Joshua regroup and prove that he too is something special? Wladimir did it, and he did it after suffering three crushing defeats. But whereas Wladimir engaged in three comeback fights after the loss to Brewster before challenging for a world title (this the IBF belt, against Chris Byrd), AJ will go right back in at the deep end.
Joshua has it all to prove in his very next fight.