Compare and contrast the build-up to Tony Bellew’s fight with David Haye and Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight bout with Wladimir Klitschko, and you may be forgiven for thinking you’re watching a different sport.
We’ve seen respect rather than ringside dust-ups, admiration over arguments, and candour instead of threats to ‘cave in’ skulls. Perhaps the only needless aspect was the contrived in-ring fight announcement moments after Joshua’s demolition job on Eric Molina in December.
However, as the biggest fight in British boxing history approaches, the affronts, albeit more tacit in nature and delivery, have been filtering out of both camps. This is despite Klitschko claiming that the pair are sending out a “great message” about boxing.
We’ve charted the verbal jousting between the IBF titleholder Joshua and the erstwhile champion and ‘obsessed’ Klitschko to gauge their mood before the bout.
And with the training camps over and only the final press conference and face-to-face still to come this week, there is still time for some verbal, if not physical, sparring.
Take a look at the gallery above to see what the champion and challenger have been saying about each other in the long fight build-up.