Klitschko determined to beat Joshua after Fury 'wake-up call'

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Wladimir Klitschko says his motivation is "high as the sky" as he prepares for next April's heavyweight world title fight against Anthony Joshua at Wembley.

The contest between former linear champion Klitschko and fellow Olympic gold medallist Joshua was announced on Saturday, immediately after the Briton had defended his IBF title with a third-round stoppage of Eric Molina.

On Wednesday, the duo struck a predictably respectful tone as they praised each other's achievements to date - their complimentary words offering a sharp contrast to last week's farcical pre-fight news conference between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora, which saw the latter hurl a table at his opponent.  

However, Klitschko, who turns 41 in March, nevertheless made it clear he is determined to bounce back from a shock defeat to Tyson Fury in his last outing, in November 2015.

"I am obsessed to become a champion again," said the Ukrainian, who twice saw a proposed rematch with Fury shelved. "A year-and-a-half break [which Klitschko will have had by the time he fights Joshua], is it good, is it bad? ... I feel it's good.

"My last performance was not good, I was not holding my head up after the fight and my motivation is now as high as the sky. The Fury defeat was a wake-up call."

Many feel the relative youth of Joshua, 27, will prove decisive, but Klitschko feels it is impossible to pick a favourite for their bout.

"I would say this is 50/50 - [with] our size, our strength. And age is just a number," he added.

"Both Olympic champions, both world-title holders. This is very even and I don't know when another fight like this will happen in the heavyweight division.

"I was, I am and I will be very complimentary of Anthony."

Joshua praised Klitschko, adding: "I definitely try to take inspiration from Wladimir. He's a good man, a great man.

"At the end of the day it's all about winning. This is an amazing opportunity and the time is now.

"This is a man I need to defeat to build my respect in this division. When I first turned pro there were questions 'when are you going to fight him or him', but now the time is right."