By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Wladimir Klitschko often talked to Emanuel Steward about finally finding that huge, career-defining fight.

Steward preached patience as Klitschko continuously wondered when that type of challenge would present itself. Ukraine’s Klitschko was growing impatient as he made one successful but forgettable title defense after another.

Four years after Steward’s death, Klitschko considers his April 29 fight against Anthony Joshua just the type of event he and his legendary trainer used to discuss.

As the 40-year-old Klitschko begins preparing for their highly anticipated showdown at London’s Wembley Stadium, he’ll be thinking often about Steward. Honoring his longtime trainer’s memory is among the things that is motivating the former heavyweight champion to beat the 27-year-old knockout artist from England.

Most Internet sports books list the 6-feet-6, 245-pound Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs), who’s now trained by Johnathon Banks, as slightly less than a 2-1 underdog against the 6-6, 250-pound Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs).

“I wanna do it, as I said, for myself, but also for others,” Klitschsko said recently after a press conference at Madison Square Garden to promote his fight against Joshua. “For example, Emanuel Steward. I’m his biggest admirer. And he definitely shaped me as a fighter, and also as a person. I think I owe him this fight as well because he was always saying about, ‘Well, Wladimir, your signature fight is gonna come up. It’s gonna come up. It’s always happening. Just trust me.’

“And I would say like, ‘When? Who? How? There’s no opposition. Is David Haye the one? Hmm. Kind of. He was a pumped-up cruiserweight, got into the ring and [I was ] trying to make the fight.’ But now, it’s a signature fight. It’s something that I definitely was looking forward to, and probably something, as I said, I almost demanded as well – not just to be involved in this fight, but also to win this fight.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.