Dereck Chisora: Humble Anthony Joshua is throwing himself into deep end against Wladimir Klitschko

Mark Lomas

Anthony Joshua may be one of boxing’s nice guys but he will need to be at his ruthless best to beat Wladimir Klitschko, according to former British heavyweight champion Dereck Chisora.

Joshua and Klitschko do battle at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night as the Watford-born fighter makes the third defence of his IBF heavyweight title.

The pair have appeared gracious towards each other since the contest was first announced, a far cry from the antagonism so often exhibited in the build-ups to big fights.

And Chisora, no stranger to goading opponents during a colourful career, insists that Joshua’s behaviour is not just for show, with the 2012 Olympic gold medallist’s reputation for being one of the sport’s more amiable figures fully justified.

“Some people are humble, some people are shrewd, some people are a***holes – that’s the way it is in boxing,” Chisora told the Evening Standard. “AJ decided to take the humble route and it’s working well for him.

“What you see is what you get with him and he has been like that since he was young. Even in the amateurs he was like that. A good guy.”

Joshua’s character may be courteous but in the ring he has been utterly relentless so far in his career, winning all 18 of his professional bouts by knockout.

It has led many to predict that Saturday’s fight could represent a passing of the torch in the heavyweight division, particularly as Klitschko has not fought since being surprisingly dethroned as world champion by Tyson Fury in November 2015.

And while Chisora, who lost to Klitschko’s brother Vitali in 2012, certainly subscribes to the theory that Joshua is favourite, he warned that the veteran Ukrainian should not be written off.

“AJ has done great in his career so far and he is very much throwing himself into the deep end here,” said Chisora. “He is the younger guy and moves well so that’s why people are expecting him to pick Klitschko apart.

“But make no mistake, this is a very, very tough fight for AJ. Klitschko likes to box taller guys, he’s very sharp against bigger boxers.

“From what I hear from people helping him in his camp, his movement is amazing right now, too. We know how Klitschko is going to react when he gets hit but AJ hasn’t been hit by someone like him before. It’s a huge test.”