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Thursday, April 20, 2017

No Holds Barred: Charles Farrell on the Coming Coronation of Anthony Joshua 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with our colleague, correspondent, and award-winning boxing writer, Charles Farrell.

He is also one of the writers featured in the new book The Bittersweet Science.

Our main topic was the April 29 heavyweight title unification fight between the 27-year-old IBF champion Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and the 41-year-old former champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs).

This fight, which is also for a vacant WBA title, takes place at the sold-out 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in London. It will be shown live in the U.K. on Sky Sports Box Office and in Germany on RTL, with record viewership likely on each. In the U.S., Showtime will telecast it live, with HBO later showing a replay.

We spoke with Charles Farrell by phone Thursday.

While both of us expect Joshua to defeat Klitschko by knockout, we see this fight as having far more significance than just a heavyweight title bout.

"For one thing, it establishes the next dominant heavyweight champion of the world, at a time when there really hasn't been one for a period of time," Charles Farrell said.

"But maybe more importantly than that, it will serve I think as the kind of coming out party for a fighter who has all of the attributes necessary to become one of the, certainly one of the most famous fighters in history, very conceivably the highest paid fighter in history.

"And a guy who if he's promoted -- he barely has to be promoted in the U.K. They're waiting for him. This is a coronation of sorts.

"But this is a kind of celebrity that can easily translate worldwide.

"So I think that this fight, if it goes the way most people expect that it will go, heralds not only a new heavyweight champion, a significant new heavyweight champion, but a new era in terms of money-making possibility."

We discussed how the U.K. has once again become a major place for boxing; why we expect this fight to be a decisive and likely quick knockout victory for Joshua; Klitschko's awful performance in his last fight in November 2015 against Tyson Fury; how Joshua is well-schooled as a fighter and has been prepared for his role as an international superstar; potential future opponents for Joshua including WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder of the U.S. and a possible huge fight between them in New York or Las Vegas; what should happen if Tyson Fury returns to fighting; why Anthony Joshua is reminiscent of Joe Louis; the parochialism of much of the American boxing media and fan base in not recognizing Joshua's full potential; and much, much more.

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