Klitschko and Joshua smile and flex but pivot away from trash talk

Eddie Hearn does best Don Draper impression during weigh-ins at Wembley Arena

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko ahead of their  world heavyweight title fight at Wembley. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko ahead of their world heavyweight title fight at Wembley. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

 

Eddie Hearn, promoter of the largest fight ever to take place on these islands, is wandering around a murmuring Wembley Arena looking like the lead character of Mad Men, the Don Draper of the fight game.

His sales pitch has been that people will “not believe the atmosphere and spectacle that will unfold” in this heavyweight championship of the world bout.

Today he is impeccable, wandering through the throngs of fans and media, beautifully attired and shaking hands with the main actors.

He shows great poise among the strobe lights and smoke. Meanwhile the fantastically coiffed American announcer Michael Buffer is singing into the mic his licensed trademark “let’s get ready to rumble” as Wladimir Klitschko strides in from the black darkness of the wings and peels off his clothes.

The 41-year-old, who took Tyson Fury for granted and was beaten last time, is almost flinging his sleeveless vest as he walks, the crowd rising to it.

He first steps on the scales, registers 17 stone 2lb, smiles and flexes, all guns and abs. Joshua follows and matches Klitschko in weight and the ripped stakes in what is the last piece of performance before they enter Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Psychological blood

Maybe here the Ukrainian draws psychological blood as Londoner Joshua has always been the physical superior in his 18 fights to date.

The two have not engaged in trash talk. There is not the loathing that appears to follow David Haye or the aggression Tony Bellew brought to the ceremony that preceded his win over Haye some weeks ago or the barely contained ferocity of Mike Tyson in his pomp.

Selfie magnet and former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is uncoolly wearing shades in the semi dark as the two physical specimens stare at each other from inches away for the most famous pose in boxing, the crowd daring one of them to flinch first, the officials, Hearn and the cameras closing in until the boxers occupy no more than a London phone box of space.

There were 29 people on stage when Katie Taylor and Nina Meinke weighed in. That number has doubled and the crowd is raising the volume, some of them screaming in Russian as Klitschko straightens his arm and puts a forefinger in the air.

There are hundreds, perhaps a 1,000, in the Arena. Part one of this drama is completed and 90,000 are expected for the final act on Saturday.

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