Wladimir Klitschko’s mind games won’t work, says relaxed Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua has told Wladimir Klitschko his mind games are transparent, although the Briton is wary of facing a wounded animal at Wembley.

Animosity between the two heavyweights has so far been absent ahead of Saturday’s bout in the capital when the undefeated Joshua will meet the 41-year-old Klitschko 17 months on for the Ukrainian’s loss to Tyson Fury.

Neither man is renowned for the insults or press-conference confrontations that can preface other fights, and Klitschko’s attempts to get inside Joshua’s head have instead centred on his muscular physique as well as his opponent’s declaration he wants to be a billionaire.

Joshua has dismissed such psychological tactics as frivolous by insisting that Klitschko is merely trying to transfer criticism he has received on to his younger foe.

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a billionaire – if you have kids you would advise them to set goals high, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high,” Joshua argued.

“Wladimir Klitschko was accused of carrying out fights to the 12th round to secure commercial revenue in Germany. He has been accused of trying to accumulate financial gain as well. Maybe he is using that as a way to attack me because he has been in that situation before.

“He used to be accused of being too muscular because he used to gas after five or six rounds coming through.

“Everything he has gone through he seems to be throwing at the young champion coming through. I study boxing, I see where he is coming from. I can see his angles. It is important to unsettle a fighter.

” Boxing isn’t just about the Mike Tysons of the world, there are so many ways of expressing yourself. It is a martial art.”

Another of Klitschko’s assertions is that all of the pressure next weekend will be on the man 14 years his junior.

Despite 64 victories and 18 successful world-heavyweight title defences, Father Time appeared to be catching up with Klitschko when he was last seen being outboxed in the ring by Fury in November 2015.

Joshua has not dissected that defeat in any great detail as he prepares for his own meeting with Klitschko, but he does believe that such a loss will have motivated him.

“He just didn’t show up – for a lot of people’s failures, they learn,” Joshua said. “They study, they come back. A lot of great fighters have made mistakes and come back. I say only positive things because I want to expect the best Klitschko.

“I think he definitely will have learned from the mistakes he made against Fury. It may be good for him at his age. He has been champion a decade. Maybe it was good for him.”

Defeat in the professional ranks is something Joshua has never had to reflect on.

He became a world champion in just his 16th bout and has had two successful defences since, although he challenges claims his path to the top has been easy, pointing out to former British heavyweight champions Fury and Lennox Lewis that neither were facing such titans of the sport at the respective stages of their careers.

“Look at it this way, who were Fury and Lennox fighting in their 19th fight,” Joshua said.

“People say I had an easy route to the championship, but I didn’t have to take Charles Martin. I should have said, ‘No, I’m going to defend the British title outright, I should stay where I am’. Now we are here.

“It’s been a good journey, a good learning one and that’s why I feel confident. We rise to the occasion each time and that’s what fighting is all about. Don’t back down from any challenge.”

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