Happy underdog Klitschko talks up defeat for Joshua


Wladimir Klitschko had menacing words of advice for Anthony Joshua ahead of their world heavyweight title showdown, telling the champion there was "nothing scary" about suffering defeat.

The pair faced media for the final time on Thursday before going toe-to-toe in front of 90,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium for Joshua's IBF title and the vacant WBA (super) and IBO belts - all three of which Klitschko lost to Tyson Fury in November 2015.

That defeat - the fourth of Klitschko's career - ended a near decade-long reign over the heavyweight division, with Joshua tipped to emulate the Ukrainian's greatness after winning each of his 18 fights to date by knockout.

Joshua had no answer when asked what a first professional defeat would mean for him, but Klitschko stepped in to impart wisdom gained from his long career.

The 41-year-old Klitschko told his opponent: "I've been there, done that.

"I got up, shook myself off and came back stronger. Just a little help, there's nothing scary about it."

Joshua is the slight bookmakers' favourite for victory - a rare situation for Klitschko, but one he is relishing.

"I'm going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of years how long I've been in boxing, 27 years. It's a pretty amazing fact," he added.

"Is it a degradation that I'm actually the challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in sport?

"I don't think so. I think it's great. I'm a challenger again, I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with the idea and my goal to raise my hands again as the winner of my upcoming fight."

Though Joshua's career has been devastating to date, many pundits have said that he lacks the necessary experience to take on Klitschko, but the Briton insists he will embrace the challenge.

"Any fight's the right fight," he said. "To you guys, you want certain types of fights... I never shied away from any fight, any opponent. It doesn't matter who I'm fighting.

"I could have said I'm not ready, but I embrace every opportunity and I think failure is without trying.

"That's why I always step up to every occasion. There's no fear that trembles through my body.

"I'll take on any man."