Wladimir Klitschko intensified his mind games with Anthony Joshua ahead of Saturday’s world heavyweight title fight by revealing he has already recorded his prediction of the outcome.
The challenger, 41, brandished a memory stick which he said contained a video of his prediction at his press conference in London, and said the stick would be sealed in the robe he will wear into the ring at Wembley Stadium.
He bids to become a three-time world champion by claiming Joshua’s IBF title and the WBA belt last held by his conqueror Tyson Fury, but despite repeatedly stating his respect for his opponent, he finally attempted to unnerve him.
At Wednesday evening’s public workouts at Wembley Arena there were suggestions Klitschko deliberately finished late to ensure Joshua would be waiting to start his. There is also a belief that he has remained so respectful towards the 27-year-old in an attempt to soften his edge before the two enter the ring.
Holding up a memory stick at Thursday’s press conference, Klitschko said: “I recorded a video last week, and the outcome of the fight.
“My prediction, so to say. This [memory stick] is going to be in my robe, which I’m going to wear this Saturday night, sealed.”
He continued: “Do not ask me after the fight, ‘What is on the stick?’ The only person who’s going to be able to watch it is the person who’s going to buy this robe, and all the money will go to the Klitschko Foundation.”
Klitschko, who dismissed rumours he is carrying an eye-socket injury as “fake news”, also asked for another question to be directed to him when it was Joshua’s turn to speak, and helped the defending champion answer one of his questions.
“Can you imagine my next opponent, which is Anthony Joshua,” he continued. “I’m going to fight a guy whose age is the exact number I’ve been in boxing – 27 years.
“Life is a circle. I see myself in AJ. I do believe I know how he thinks, where he goes, what he’s going to do, and how the actual fight is going to be. I’m not Nostradamus, but I feel so strong in my obsession.
“Obsession is love in an extreme shape. I’m in love with my goal. And there is nothing else stronger than love. I’ve been attached to these belts for a very long time. I had those belts in my past fight. I’m actually having them in my next fight – an amazing matter of fact – the only difference was after my last fight [against Fury] the belts went to the opposite corner. My obsession is so those belts can land in this corner.”
Joshua retained the same calmness he has exuded throughout the build-up to this fight – perhaps a consequence of his struggles against Dillian Whyte in 2015 when he became angry – and refused to respond to his challenger.
“I always try to strip everything back down to reality, what it really is,” he said. “Just focus on it’s just me and that man, coming to blows, and the best man winning.
“I take it seriously. April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness. Any fight’s the right fight. I’ve never shied away from any fight, any opponent. There’s no fear whatsoever that trembles through my body.
“[On Saturday night] I win. It’s not complicated. Let’s not over-think it. It’s not rocket science – it’s just a fight. Let’s strip it right back to what it is.”
Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken said: “Anthony’s at the peak of his powers. He’ll learn in this fight, develop as a fighter, and onwards and upwards.
“As great a fighter as Klitschko has been, Father Time’s a terrible person when he shows up and I think he’s already showed up, so it’s going to be tough for Wladimir. He doesn’t know himself if it’s still there or not, and he’ll only find out on Saturday.”