Compared to the furious battle that took place inside the ring on Saturday night, the verbal war in the buildup to Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko’s title fight was a relatively tame affair, with both men seemingly more interested in out-praising one and other rather than indulging in any insults and/or mind games.

But that doesn’t mean it was all pleasantries and pats on the back inside the ring, with AJ telling Klitschko deep into the 10th that he’d “Whoop his ass”, just minutes before knocking the 41-year-old to the ground for the second time.

Not the best, but it’s something, right?

With 90,000 people watching from the stands and Klitschko looking on course to claim the fight a victory on points, cameras picked up Joshua trying to engage his opponent whilst beckoning him on… a tactic that obviously worked.

In the post-fight press conference, Joshua laughed when asked what he was saying: “I told him I’d whoop his ass in the next round.”

He added that he said to his coaches at the end of the eighth round

“My coaches said I needed to win the next round (at the end of the tenth), but I told them I just took that round off.”

“I needed a rest.”

Anthony Joshua throws a heavy jab straight into the chin of Wladimir Klitschko
Anthony Joshua throws a heavy jab straight into the chin of Wladimir Klitschko

In an emotional post-fight interview in front of 90,000 at Wembley, AJ turned on Le Classy Gentleman charm, with dollar signs raining all around him as he showed the manners and erudition that have marked him out as a marketer’s dream (plus, he’s really good at punching).

“As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and respect your opponent, so a massive shout-out to Wladimir Klitschko for taking part.”

“I’m not going to say too much in case he wants to come back and fight me again, but in terms of the boxing Hall of Fame and the boxing arena, he’s a role model in and out of the ring.

“I’ve got nothing but love and respect for anyone who steps inside the ring.

“I’m a little bit emotional now because I know I’ve got doubters who think I can’t do this and I can’t do that. But I dig deep.”

We can’t imagine there are too many doubters now, AJ.

Source: Esquire