Johannesburg - Anthony “AJ” Joshua and Wladimir “Dr Steelhammer” Klitschko will finally square off at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night.
But the question that is on the lips of many is, will the magic of the British boxing wonder boy or the experience of the wily Ukranian veteran prevail?
The answer will only be known when the two collide in the much-anticipated world heavyweight title contest. They will exchange blows for the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and vacant International Boxing Organisation titles. The winner will take home a purse of £20 million (R338 million).
But the focus of the partisan crowd will be on home-spun hero Joshua, who will be contesting the WBA diadem, which his countryman Tyson Fury won from Klitschko via a unanimous decision at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany, in November 2015. Fury forfeited his championship belt after testing positive for cocaine use.
So who has the advantage? As always, style makes fights, and every modern-day gladiator has a weakness that can be exploited.
Joshua (27), the holder of the IBF belt, is a firm favourite and is expected to knock out Klitschko, as he has all his opponents before the legendary Ukrainian. The Watford-based fighter is renowned for packing a terrific right hook that has seen him send all 18 foes in his professional career to the canvas. The former Olympic champion usually rises to the occasion with the rapturous support of passionate fans behind him, as was the case in his last three IBF title bouts – against Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina, all of which he won with ease last year.
One of the many remarkable things Joshua excels at inside the squared circle is aggressively rushing his opponents and disrupting them by disturbing their timing with a shoulder-roll defence and quick counter punching. He is certain to employ these tactics to unsettle Klitschko.
AJ will also use his speed to keep his distance while he peppers Klitschko with left jabs before unleashing the heavy artillery. This will work to his advantage, as it did in his fight against American challenger Molina, during which AJ swatted him aside inside three rounds at the Manchester Arena in December to set up his IBF title defence against Klitschko.
Klitschko, on the other hand, will be aiming to come forward all the time in the hope of catching Joshua off-guard with a big right. He needs to keep the Briton from settling into a rhythm so that he can throw a trademark right punch to floor his foe.
So serious and focused is AJ on taking Dr Steelhammer down that he pronounced on Twitter that he would also beat Fury should the two meet in the next defence of his title. He even offered Fury a pair of ring-side tickets to watch him destroy Klitschko on Saturday.
Kiltschko (41), with an imperious record of 68 wins and four defeats, will be out to prove to his younger foe that he means business with a knockout win. Dr Steelhammer usually starts slowly and gains momentum as the rounds go by, then connects with a big right to put his opponents to sleep.
Of his four defeats, the one the South African boxing fraternity will never forget is the second-round knockout loss he suffered at the hands of the late Corrie Sanders for the WBO championship in Hanover, Germany, in 2003. Klitschko maintains that the defeat to Sanders made him a better fighter.
“I have nothing to defend, so I need to bounce back and be the hunter. Joshua has the title and it’s something I will need to get. It will be a totally different attitude. I will not hold myself back,” he said.
Be that as it may, Joshua will most likely emulate Sanders in taking out the big Ukrainian on Saturday night.