Joshua beats Klitschko in a Classic
Anthony Joshua celebrates the new IBF, WBA titles with his IBF belt – PIC: GettyImages
Anthony Joshua beat the future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko with an eleventh round stoppage at Wembley Stadium this past Saturday, to see him adding the IBF and WBA title belts to his collect in what was a incredible fight between two warriors in the ring and of the all time classic world heavyweight bouts in history too.
The fight saw a record crowd of 90,000 fans packing the home of football for what was an anticipated meeting between the old guard and the new generation, with no few than four knockdowns and a see-saw clash for the IBF, IBO and WBA world heavyweight titles at Wembley Stadium.
Both fighters came out a bit conservative to start off with and not showing the other their hand so to speak in this unification bout, but both boxers landed a couple of jabs and hooks now and then, as it was very much a feeling out process in the opening round with Joshua landing more of the jabs.
At the start of the second round it saw the Ukrainian throwing some good punches and brought a mark under the eye of the British fighter, as Klitschko was certainly the aggressor in the round early part. Joshua though came back at his rival late on and caught his opponent with a couple of hefty punches himself too in the final minute.
Wembley Stadium was rocking with the noise from the home fans cheering their fellow countryman on, and it was first heavyweight title fight since Frank Bruno won the WBC title against Oliver McCall back in 1995. The fight was very evenly poised with a scientific start with neither man wanting to commit too early in the bout and get caught.
‘AJ’ came flying out of his corner in the third, with the IBF champion starting out strongly much like his opponent had done in the previous round and saw him landing some d ecent shots on rival to begin with.
Joshua catching Klitschko with left hand Pic: The Independant
Klitschko though seemed to take the shots that were coming in from Joshua, but you could see that the man nicknamed ‘Dr Steelhammer’ wasn’t comfortable when he was under pressure. Joshua was clearly having the better of the early rounds and saw him not making too many mistakes, if any, against a very savvy veteran in his opponent.
After three rounds of boxing it saw the Brit seemingly on top in the fight at that point in time, but Klitschko then seemed to stun AJ with a hard right hand and followed it up with a left hook, that saw Joshua being caught and needed the man from Watford to defend a bit better.
The fifth round was certainly not one for the boxing purists in attendance, as both fighters seemed to forget the art of defence and were just swinging hell for leather and saw Joshua putting his rival down to the canvas with a few combination shots.
Klitschko was knocked down to the canvas for the first time since 2005 when he faced Nigerian Samuel Peters and the Ukrainian picked himself back up and got back into the fight.
After being knocked down for the first time in 12 years, it saw drama to the second half of the round, with Klitschko coming back after Joshua had almost tired himself out looking for a knockout and now the British fighter was needing to try and see out the round and was deep deep trouble.
AJ was literally holding on to try and see out the round, after he was out on his feet from taking some solid shots from Klitschko and had Joshua now teetering on a possible stoppage.
The home fans bellowed out ‘Oh Anthony Joshua’ to the tune of White Stripes song ‘Seven Nation Army’. Wladimir Klitschko was then trying to measure his shots and it could be argued that his approach on his then tired opponent would cost him later on.
After a stunning fifth round where it looked like Joshua was going to finish the job and then somehow saw Klitschko then on the verge of victory himself, it made for a fascinating and exciting second half to this heavyweight contest.
Klitschko used his boxing brain in the sixth and looked to have far more gas in the tank than say that of his opponent, with AJ looking still weary from the previous round and saw Joshua hitting the deck after a beautiful right hand caught Joshua flush in the face and send the IBF champion down to he canvas for the second time in his career.
Joshua was clearly now in survival mode and had Klitschko buoyed by the knockdown and was able to just getting at his opponent a bit more through his jabs. As the round ticked away, it saw Joshua in all kinds of trouble and was forced to cover up again and try to recovery quickly.
Round seven saw the home fighter breathing a bit heavier in the contest and that fifth round seemed to have taken a lot of Joshua, and with the British fighter having never gone past seven rounds before, it was clear that he would need to show a lot of character and grit if he was force his way back in to this fight.
Klitschko now had his opponent right where he wanted him for the taking and saw the home crowd trying to will their man on and help get him back into the contest, having been out of sorts in the previous couple of rounds.
The Ukrainian now was on the front foot and saw him landing with his trademarks jabs and leave his opponent struggling to keep them out and have Klitschko content. It did feel almost like he was setting him up for a possible knockout punch as Joshua was still a bit stunned from the last two rounds.
In the eighth round, the 41-year old Ukrainian continued to use the jab on Joshua and having his opponent still trying dig some reserves back for a recovery, and late in the round it saw AJ letting his opponent know that he could still come back as he landed a good shot.
As we moved toward the ‘Championship rounds’ of the contest, it saw Joshua catching his opponent with a couple of good punches but saw Klitschko able to soak up the blows, as there wasn’t much venom in the strikes.
Prior to round ten it had the scorecards around the boxing fraternity at ringside all in favour of the elder statesman by a couple of points and continued to work behind the jabs, with the IBF champion showing glimpses now and then mounting a comeback.
Both men were gutting it out and showing their warrior instincts in this bout, with some clean punches being landed by both fighters and seeing the fight swaying one way and then other and making it hard to predict who would come out on top.
When the bell rang to signal the start of round eleven, it saw Joshua getting his second wind and come out swinging and have Klitschko in early some trouble and surprised everyone, not least Klitschko, who seemed to have the upper hand in the second part of the fight.
Joshua had weathered the storm of the past few rounds and now with some new found energy he had found from deep inside, he showed his championship class and threw a fight changing punch to turn the fight in his favour.
AJ from nowhere connected with a beauty of a right uppercut on his opponent and that one punch had Klitschko reeling and stunned badly, which led to Joshua catching him with a few more punches that put him down on the floor for the second time and looked to have swung the fight his direction again.
The man who had dominated world boxing with his brother for overa decade then was sent crashing to the mat a second time almost less than twenty seconds later, and that had the Wembley crowd thinking that the job was done from Joshua, but his rival still had some more fight left in him.
Credit to Klitschko for still hanging in there and refusing to lay down, but the referee stopped the fight with thirty-eight seconds remaining of the round to go and give Anthony Joshua a famous victory over the legendary Wladimir Klitschko to become the new IBO and WBA heavyweight champion of the world.
Joshua raises his arms after flooring his rival Pic: BBC SPORTS
It brought an end to one of the most dramatic heavyweight fights in history, and will go down as one of the most entertaining championships bout and possibly greatest boxing match in the UK.
After the conclusion of the fight it had an American journalist making the comment seconds after the fight, “We’ve had the Rumble in the Jungle, the Thriller in Manilla and you can add this too as the ‘War at Wembley’.
In 95′ British boxing fans were made up for Frank Bruno when he was finally a world champion and had everyone glad to see that good guys could be champions. Roll on nearly 22 years later, and Anthony Joshua has perhaps taken on the mantle of the new ‘People’s Champ’ tag in British boxing.
Victory for the London 2012 Gold medalist saw him adding the IBF and WBA belts to his IBO version that he already had in his possession, and from going from possible defeat to and getting off the canvas to pick up a stunning win and do in the fashion that he did, it will certain go down for now as his greatest victory on his impressive resume.
It was truly one of the most incredible fights seen at Heavyweight for some time and with all the negativity of heavyweight boxing over the last 20 years and at times well deserved, this one fight alone shown that their a new era possibly for the sport to come back and grab people’s attention again.
Anthony Joshua spoke to Sky Box Office on his win and said the following; “19-0 and three years into the game. As i said, I’m not perfect, but I’m trying.
Joshua also was quick to praise his opponent too by saying; “As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and respect your opponent, so massive respect to Wladimir Klitschko for taking part.”
He added “In terms of the boxing arena, he is a hall of famer, a role model and I’ve got nothing but love and respect for him.”
The defeated Wladimir Klitschko received a loud ovation from the 90,000 strong crowd that packed the famous stadium out, and told the fans “I love you too Guys. I hope you all enjoyed the fight. Both fighters were really giving their best. The best man won tonight and it’s an amazing event for boxing.
“Two gentlemen fought each other. I say gentlemen, as boxing came from England, so truly was gentlemen that fought one another. Anthony was truly better than I. It’s really sad that i didn’t make it tonight, as i was planning to do it. But it didn’t work.”
Of course, there could still be a rematch between the two fighters again and if nothing come of that, then it may well have be the final time we see Wladimir Klitschko in a boxing ring. The man dubbed ‘Dr Steelhammer’ has been in the ring since 1996 and fought for 21-years after making his debut in a four-round fight in Hamburg, Germany back in 1996.
Meanwhile, for ‘AJ’ Anthony Joshua it brings new possibilities for the Watford man going forward. As he won’t be short on takers, after the IBF and WBA federations have their mandatory challengers line-up and also have Detonay Wilder interested in facing Joshua too.
Another name to throw in is one Mr Tyson Fury, who him himself beat Klitschko in his last fight over in Germany and could see an all British fight that fans have been interested to see as the two have some history as well.