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Klitschko's coach claims he predicted defeat to Fury

Boxing

LONDON - Wladimir Klitschko's trainer had a premonition that his long-reigning world heavyweight champion was going to lose his titles to Tyson Fury.

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Tyson Fury lands a jab on Wladimir Klitschko during their world heavyweight title bout in 2015. Photo: EPA/Rolf VennenberndFury poses with his newly-acquired belts after the win. Photo: Photo: EPA/Rolf Vennenbernd

Two days before one of the ring’s biggest upsets, Johnathon Banks had the sinking feeling that after a decade as the ruler of boxing’s marquee division, his man was about to be dethroned.

Banks, successor to the late and legendary Manny Steward in Klitschko’s corner, recalls what happened in Dusseldorf 17 months ago: "I knew before the fight that it wasn’t going to be our night.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks. I just thought - damn. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me, just as Manny had warned me it would."

Banks is speaking of his despair about the Fury shocker as he and Klitschko prepare for Saturday night’s mega-fight in front of a record 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium against Anthony Joshua.

"Everyone says that Fury got into Wladimir’s head," he says. "Not so. Wladimir is mentally very strong. He just had the worst possible off-night. Just as bad, I knew it was coming. Sometimes it just happens."

Banks understudied Steward at the fabled Kronk Gym in Detroit and when his mentor died, Klitschko promoted him to senior trainer to maintain continuity.

"Manny told me that a day or so before every fight he saw the outcome," says Banks. "When Tommy Hearns was going into that famous fight with Marvin Hagler it hit Manny in the locker room. He knew Tommy was going to lose but it was too late to tell him."

So how does Banks reckon Klitschko will fare on Saturday night as he bids to unseat Joshua as IBF world champion and regain the WBA and IBO titles he lost to Fury?

Perhaps unfortunately for the powerful young Englishman - who, like Klitschko, is an Olympic gold medallist - no prediction of gloom and doom is forthcoming.

"Only good feelings about this one," quips Banks. "And by the way, I’ve never been wrong."

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