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08th Apr 2017

Wladimir Klitschko has suddenly started talking smack in attempt to hype AJ fight

This is out of character

Darragh Murphy

Where the hell did this come from?

Either his manager has control of his Twitter account or, at the age of 41, Wladimir Klitschko has just realised how to sell pay-per-views.

History has told us that the key to pay-per-view success when it comes to combat sports is bad blood.

And there’s only one way to stir up bad blood – shit talk.

Only last month we saw David Haye fashion an interest in his clash with Tony Bellew by spouting endless abuse about the Liverpudlian.

UFC star Conor McGregor has become the biggest draw in all of fighting by spitting gold into every microphone that’s put in front of him.

We were expecting something altogether more civil throughout the build-up to Anthony Joshua’s upcoming clash with Wladimir Klitschko in Wembley because neither man is much of a trash-talker.

Joshua is a respectful young prospect whose humility comes as almost surprising given his meteoric rise through the professional ranks and his imposing physique.

And throughout his career, Klitschko has been stoic and avoided rising to the mouthy tactics of both Haye and Tyson Fury, the man who dethroned him in 2015.

Klitschko’s technical skills have never been questioned but he’s never been the most prolific when it came to selling fights due to his relaxed, solemn and respectful nature.

That made it all the more bizarre to see his tweet on Saturday morning, when he described upcoming opponent Joshua as “a wannabe billionaire”.

The name-calling was so out of character from the Ukrainian that his followers had to call him on it.

Klitschko then urged those reading his tweets to get behind him because he was the more relatable fighter.

It wasn’t like Klitschko at all and Joshua’s not the type of person to rise to that bait but he’s in the PPV-selling business now so maybe he will respond.

Either way, he won’t have long to wait until he gets his hands on Klitschko as there are just three weeks to go until the monster heavyweight showdown.

And that leaves plenty of time for more shit talk.