Anthony Joshua: King of the Heavyweights
Boxing fans: We just witnessed one of the greatest fights in the recent history of the sport. And in the end, Anthony Joshua managed to pull it off.
In front of a sold out Wembley Stadium in England, Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko with a TKO late in the 11th round to retain his IBF heavyweight championship and win the vacant WBA title.
"What can I say? 19-0, three and a half years in the game," Joshua said. "I’m not perfect but I’m trying, and if you don’t take part, you’re going to fail. As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and you respect your opponent. So a massive shout-out to Wladimir Klitschko."
Both fighters had momentum on their side throughout different portions of the fight, and Joshua was knocked down for the first time in his career. But it was Joshua’s three knockdowns of Klitschko and eventual ref stoppage that made him the talk of the boxing world after this bout.
The fight did start slow, with neither fighter really pulling the trigger through the first couple of rounds. Joshua, however, was able to keep up with the former unified heavyweight champion, utilizing his jab to close the distance.
A lot of action came in the fourth round — only the third time Joshua has gone past the third. After a one-two from Klitschko to start the round, both fighters were able to land several shots of their own. Klitschko landed several hard shots late, but Joshua clipped Klitschko’s chin before the closing bell.
Then, the fifth round happened. Joshua came out of the gate fast with a barrage of shots, eventually getting Klitschko down to the canvas. Klitschko also developed a cut along the side of his face during the power punches.
But Klitschko seemed fired up after the knockdown, landing a hook that stunned Joshua. Joshua was rocky on his feet throughout the last minute, as Klitschko landed several shots with Joshua on the ropes until the bell sounded.
Klitschko continued where he left off in the sixth, knocking Joshua down with a right hand. The sixth seemed to be all-Klitschko, as Joshua clinched up late, and by the round’s end he looked completely gassed.
After Joshua seemed to be a little unsure of himself in the seventh, while also leaving his guard down a bit, Joshua entered past seventh-round territory for the first time. And it was there where he seemed to get a second wind. Throughout rounds eight and nine, Joshua moved around and landed plenty of body shots on the Klitschko.
Round 10 was filled with clinches, but Joshua entered round 11 as fired up as he did in round five. Klitschko is forced into retreat, and does clinch, but he gets knocked down twice. Another flurry of shots against the ropes, and the ref stopped the fight in Joshua’s favor.
"I’m a little bit emotional," Joshua said. "I dug deep. I’m only going to improve. Boxing is about character. When you go into the trenches, that’s where you find out who you are. I’m not perfect, but I’m trying, and if you don’t take part, you’re going to fail."
With this fight earning mass praise throughout the boxing community, and a two-fight deal signed, a re-match is probably certain. Klitschko guarantees the two will meet again, but gives praise to Joshua.
"The best man won," Klitschko said. "Anthony was better than I. It was really sad I didn’t make it tonight. I really wanted it. He got up, he fought back, he won the contest."
Joshua, meanwhile, has another opponent in mind — Tyson Fury, the man who originally dethroned Klitschko.
"Tyson Fury, where you at baby? Is that what you want to see?" Joshua said. "I just want to fight everyone. I’m really enjoying this."