Klitschko: Fury’s Mind Games Destroyed Himself
Wladimir Klitschko believes Anthony Joshua is strengthening his chances of success by not engaging in the “mind games” attempted by Tyson Fury and David Haye.
The 40-year-old Klitschko challenges IBF heavyweight champion Joshua at Wembley Stadium on April 29, when the winner will also take the WBA, IBO titles, and so far the two former Olympic gold-medallists have demonstrated a mutual respect.
That is in significant contrast to the constant insults of Klitschko by Haye and Fury – who appeared to get under the Ukrainian’s skin before his shock win in November 2015 – as well as his older brother Vitali’s build-ups to fights with Dereck Chisora and Herbie Hide.
The Klitschkos’ experiences of British heavyweights, which include Vitali’s defeat by Lennox Lewis, have largely been negative, but the younger brother said: “It’s about personality and not nationality.
“It’s great for boxing that this event is going to be promoted the way it is, without any abuse, verbal, physical or any other shape of it.
“I heard that many times from David Haye and Tyson Fury. I just recently heard it at the New York press conference from Anthony, that it’s all about a mental game. But I’m not playing games – I’m serious with what I’m doing. There are no mental games from me.
“Maybe it is something you can use in a way but it is not going to work on my skin – it is too thick. Eventually people get under their (own) skin, which happened in the case of David Haye and unfortunately for Tyson Fury.
“I didn’t get the chance to fight him again and he just got destroyed. He won the fight but if we talk about mental stuff… “That’s why I don’t play these games and I am straightforward. People trying to get under my skin are concentrating on the wrong things, mind games, and are getting themselves twisted in their own mind. Just look at Fury.”
Klitschko’s fight with Joshua was agreed after Fury’s battle with depression led to him withdrawing from their rematch.
The April match-up represents one between two generations of Olympians – an experienced former champion who will be 41 come the big night, and a promising fighter who is almost 14 years younger and had little interest in boxing when Klitschko was excelling at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Asked if 14 years ago he expected he would still be fighting now, Klitschko, who claimed his training camp will not begin until March 1, replied: “Never.
“It’s funny. I was driving in the car from the airport to here (a press conference in Cologne) and I realized I know these streets so well because I’ve been competing here and so has my brother.
“I fought here for the first time against Axel Shultz and I thought, ‘When was that?’. It already feels like a long time ago. It doesn’t sound good to me. “I’m glad that I’m still around, but it was 1999. At times age is only a number but at certain times, when you look back, it’s obviously interesting.”