Carl Froch warns Anthony Joshua: 'Wladimir Klitschko will give everything to protect his legacy, just like I did'

Charlie Eccleshare
Anthony Joshua (L) and Wladimir Klitschko go head to head next Saturday - EPA

Carl Froch has warned Anthony Joshua not to take the "obsessed" Wladimir Klitschko lightly in next week's showpiece fight, even though he believes Joshua will ultimately prove too strong.

The International Boxing Federation world heavyweight title fight at Wembley next Saturday could be the 41-year-old Klitschko's last, and his legacy may well depend on its outcome. 

Froch was in a similar position when he fought George Groves in their Wembley rematch three years ago, in what was the former super middleweight champion's final professional fight, and he believes Klitshcko will be fired up by knowing he is coming to the end of his career. 

When asked to predict next Saturday's outcome, Froch said: "This could go one of many ways, but if I had to guess right I would say Joshua’s going to bang him out, he’ll just have too much for him.

"He’s big and strong, and has the youth and ambition at 27 years old, which could prove decisive. 

Carl Froch knows what it's like to win at Wembley Credit: GPPics 

"But Klitschko is in position where his whole legacy is at stake and it’s Wembley stadium, it’s probably his last fight. He talks about being obsessed and all these things are bad news for Joshua. His lack of experience at world level could see him getting outboxed and outpointed, and shown up to be every bit the novice that he is.

"If Klitshcko is as motivated and obsessed with this fight as he says he is, which I can empathise with because I was in the same position when I fought Groves, then he can be a real threat.

"Assuming Klitschko goes in with the mindset that I had of leaving no stone unturned because his legacy is at stake, then he has a chance.

"That said, I expect Joshua to win by knockout, but not early. He will win with educated pressure, not just swinging wildly and missing because Klitschko will make him miss - he's been knocked out a few times and doesn’t like getting hit. He’s scared now, and even though he fights well behind his jab, if Joshua can put him under pressure with his feet without overworking and overloading himself then by rounds seven, eight and nine Klitschko should be showing every year of his 41-year-old body."

Joshua is the favourite against Klitschko

Froch believes that Joshua's strategy and ability to keep a cool head could prove to be decisive. "Tactics will decide it," he says. "Joshua has to move his feet, put pressure on Klitshcko, put him on his back foot, use plenty of feints, make him move, make him work a bit, and make him feel uncomfortable. That work and movement when you’re 41 will catch up with you by round seven and eight.

"Klitschko will start to stand still and have to have a fight, and unless he catches Joshua with something big or makes Joshua do something silly, he’ll get beat. Joshua will throw combinations, finish with an uppercut and get Klitshcko out."

Froch warned Joshua though that Klitschko will be a huge step up in quality from the opponents he has faced thus far in his fledgling career. "Joshua is only in his 18th fight," Froch says. "He has not been tested. He’s been hit once in his whole career and that was by Dillian Whyte. There’s no way of gauging Joshua at this level.

"He’s had a privileged career. He was a bit lucky to win that Olympic gold, and since turning pro he has fought no-one. Charles Martin, do me a favour. Then he nicked that title off Tyson Fury when he gave it up and defended it against a nobody (Dominic Breazeale) and then had a nothing fight against Eric Molina.

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"That’s no preparation for Klitschko, who looks at the floor when you’re trying to hit him, and makes life extremely awkward. The crowd will be very tense early on because they will want to know what happens if Klitschko lands on Joshua's chin. 

"If Joshua is the real deal then he’ll do the business. But if he doesn’t then his motto of ‘stay humble’ will be very accurate - as he’ll have been humbled by the man who knows how to get the job done.

"Joshua talks about being a billionaire, but his motto is 'stay humble' so maybe Klitschko is the man to humble him.

"I expect Joshua to win, but I can see how Klitshcko can beat him."

Carl Froch was speaking at the partypoker MILLIONS Event, Dusk Till Dawn Nottingham. For information visit www.partypoker.com   

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