Wladimir Klitschko Wants Anthony Joshua Fight, Comments on Retirement Rumours

Chris LakerFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12:  Wladimir Klitschko looks on at a press conference ahead of the world heavyweight title rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko at the Landmark London Hotel on September 12, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Wladimir Klitschko has said he wants to fight Anthony Joshua for multiple heavyweight titles early next year and revealed he has no intention of retiring from boxing. 

Joshua has become the prime candidate to step in to fight Klitschko after the latest collapse of a scheduled rematch with Tyson Fury.

Klitschko told German newspaper Bild (h/t Peter Gilbert of Sky Sports): "I want to box in March or April against IBF world champion Anthony Joshua. That'll be the biggest heavyweight fight for years, and hopefully it'll be for three titles."

Klitschko's hopes of avenging his defeat to Fury and regaining the heavyweight title were dashed for a second time in September, leading to a potential matchup with Britain's IBF champion, Joshua.

World heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko (L) of Ukraine defends against Britain's Tyson Fury during their  WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO title bout in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on November 28, 2015.   Fury dethroned  Klitschko in a 12round decisio
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

The Ukrainian will be 41 years old in March, but despite his advancing years, he insisted he has no plans to put his gloves away just yet.

As per the report, Klitschko said: "I've never thought about stopping, not once, after the defeat and losing my belts. As long as I can perform in the ring, am fit and motivated, I'll keep going. There will be a couple of big, spectacular fights with me in the ring."

It was hoped that Klitschko and Joshua would clash in December, but the former picked up an injury in training, meaning Joshua is now set to face Eric Molina, according to Martin Domin of the Mirror.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Anthony Joshua (R) boxing Dominic Breazeale for the IBF World Heavyweight Title at The O2 Arena on June 25, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images)
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Joshua has won many admirers since stepping up to the professional ranks after winning super heavyweight gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.

One fan is two-time former heavyweight champion George Foreman, who thinks the Briton can become a boxing great.

As per John Hutchinson of the Sun, the American said: "Anthony Joshua has all the tools to become one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, but complacency and overconfidence could make Klitschko easily win. Joshua has got the right jab, the right combination, and he's an athlete. I like that look."

Should the bout ever come off, it promises to be one that could sell out Wembley Stadium. As Gareth A. Davies of the Telegraph wrote, "The longer Klitschko waits, the more experience Joshua garners, and the greater likelihood that the rising British boxing star triumphs."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25:  (EDITORS NOTE: THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN CONVERTED TO BLACK & WHITE) Anthony Joshua of Great Britain prepares to face Dominic Breazeale of The USA during their IBF World Heavyweight Championship bout  at The O2 Arena on June 25, 2016
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Certainly, time is not on the side of Klitschko. His dismal display while losing a poor-quality title fight to Fury in November 2015 would not have Joshua worried.

While facing Klitschko would be a real step up in calibre and experience for the IBF champion, Joshua is a precision puncher who has continued to show improvement. His character is such that he would likely relish the chance to test himself on the biggest heavyweight stage.

Joshua's improving skills will present a real threat come 2017 should the pair ever face up. It will be intriguing to see just how much the experienced Klitschko has left in the tank, as Joshua would likely test him from the first bell.