Joshua vs Klitschko: Boxing’s Best Brothers
By Neel Khagram
The Klitschko name will forever be etched in boxing history given Vitali and Wladimir’s domination of the heavyweight division.
On April 29, ‘Dr Steelhammer’ has the chance to add to his family’s legacy and become a three-time champion when he fights Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium, live on Sky Sports Box Office, for the Brits IBF belt and the vacant WBA title.
We look back at Ukrainian siblings rise to the top and compare them to other brothers who have won world titles in the same period.
Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko
Vitali, the elder Klitschko by five years won the WBO heavyweight title in 1998 after knocking out Herbie Hide in London to break British hearts.
A loss to Chris Byrd in 2000 and a controversial stoppage against Lennox Lewis in 2003 followed, but victory over Corrie Sander for the vacant WBC title two fights later elevated Vitali back to the top of the sport and sparked an era of dominance with his younger brother until his retirement in 2013.
Wladimir’s rise to the top started with Olympic gold at the 1996 Atlanta games and a first world title against Chris Byrd in Germany in 2000. However, knockout loses to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster left his career in tatters.
The influence of legendary trainer Emmanuelle Steward from that point on must not be forgotten as he devised a style which ‘Dr Steelhammer’ successfully executed to earn 22 straight victories against every world contender put in front of him.
Wladimir’s win over David Haye in 2011 saw the brothers hold every major belt in the heavyweight division between them, but his loss to Tyson Fury last time out meant it was the first time in over a decade that a Klitschko was not holding a version of the heavyweight title.
Koki, Daiki and Tomoki Kameda
Koki Kameda is the eldest of the three brothers and former WBC light flyweight and WBA bantamweight titlist. He failed in his attempt to become a three weight king in his last outing after losing to Kohei Kano for the WBA super-flyweight title in 2015.
Daiki Kameda is the former WBA flyweight and IBF super flyweight world champion. He lost to Liborio Solis in a super-flyweight unification bout in 2013 and a 2015 matchup against Victor Ruiz in his last outing.
Tomoki Kameda is the former WBO bantamweight world champion and known on these shores after back-to-back defeats to Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell in Texas two years ago.
Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez
Juan Manuel Marquez is regarded as one of the finest boxers of our generation having held world titles at featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. ‘Dinamita’s’ four fights against Manny Pacquiao will go down in boxing folklore, with the knockout punch he inflicted on the Filipino the lasting image of his illustrious career.
His younger brother is a two-weight world champion in his own right. Rafael Marquez claimed the IBF bantamweight title against Tim Austin in 2003 and the WBC super-bantamweight title in 2007 after stopping Israel Vazquez. He retired in 2013 after being knocked out by Efrain Esquivias and fracturing an orbital bone in his face.
Jermell and Jermall Charrlo
Jermell and Jermall are only the second set of twins to hold world titles at the same time in boxing history.
Jermall captured the IBF super-welterweight belt after knocking out Corelius Bundrage two years ago before Jermell won the vacant WBC 154lbs title in 2016 against John Jackson to cement the family name in the sport forever.
Both are still currently undefeated and chasing the biggest fights boxing can offer.
Joshua vs Klitschko: The men in the corner
By Neel Khagram
When Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko face each other at Wembley Stadium on April 29, live on Sky Sports Box Office, they will do so in the knowledge that they’ve put their minds and bodies through weeks of training and strategizing for the 36 minutes which await.
Prior to this moment, both men are reliant on a trainer orchestrating endless hours of drills and preaching wisdom to get them ready for the battle ahead.
We take an in-depth look at the men in the corner who are tasked with such responsibility.
Robert McCracken - Anthony Joshua’s trainer
A former British champion and world title challenger as a professional, McCracken officially took over the reigns as head trainer prior to the second defence of Joshua’s IBF heavyweight title fight against Eric Molina in December.
The chemistry between both trainer and fighter was formed during 2012 though when McCracken oversaw the Olympic team’s success in London and guided Joshua to super heavyweight gold. The pair stayed close ever since and ‘AJ’ was regularly seen training in McCracken’s Sheffield gym with the elite amateur squad before naming him as permanent head coach last year.
Alongside McCracken’s amateur coaching achievements, he famously led Carl Froch to unified super-middleweight glory and a knockout victory over George Groves at Wembley Stadium in 2014.
Jonathan Banks – Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer
A product of the famous Kronx gym in Detroit, Banks won the IBO cruiserweight title as a professional after defeating Vincenzo Rossitto in 2008.
At the back end of his fighting career he made the transition to coaching before taking the reigns as Klitschko’s head coach at the age of 30 following the death of legendary trainer Emmanuelle Steward.
Steward died in October 2012 after training ‘Dr Steelhammer’ for nine years and taking the Ukrainian from a vulnerable champion to the pinnacle of the glamourous division.
The Emmanuelle Steward teaching and influence on Banks was the reason Klitschko gave for choosing him as his new coach, and the pair remained undefeated before losing to Tyson Fury in November 2015.
The April 29 fight will be the second time Banks has prepared one of his fighters against Anthony Joshua after falling short with Dillian Whyte 16 months ago.