Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua knocks out Klitschko, emerges heavyweight world champion
Anthony Joshua knocks out Klitschko – Bristish professional boxer Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua has emerged victorious from the biggest post-war bout held on British soil by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in front of a 90,000 people.
The two titans squared off at Wembley Stadium watched on by the cream of Hollywood’s A-list.
The British fighter was floored in the sixth round but fought back to drop the Ukrainian with dramatic late onslaught in the eleventh.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘Passion, power, persistence, incredible from AJ’. The Labour MP is a well-known boxing fan and his brother runs Earlsfield ABC in south west London
Arnold Schwarzenegger was spotted in the crowd along with former England captain Rio Ferdinand, ex world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno and glamour model Danielle Lloyd.
After a see-saw fight that saw both men hit the canvas, and middle rounds where it seemed the north Londoner was close to being stopped, Anthony Joshua rallied to defeat his opponent in the 11th round.
An hellacious uppercut in the opening stanza of the penultimate round toppled Klitschko only for the determined Ukrainian to beat the count.
But following a sustained barrage of punches against the ropes from Joshua, the referee stepped in to wave the fight off, saving Klitschko from any further punishment.
‘What can I say? 19-0, three and a half years in the game,’ said Joshua. ‘I’m not perfect but I’m trying, and if you don’t take part, you’re going to fail.
Monday Night Football host and former Liverpool defender tweeted during the fight as Klitschko looked to be the dominant fighter
‘If you don’t take part, you fail. Boxing is about character. There is nowhere to hide. No complications about boxing. Anyone can do this. Give it a go.
‘You leave your ego at the door. Massive respect to Klitschko. He’s a role model in and out of the ring and I’ve got nothing but love and respect for anyone who steps in the ring.’
While the beaten Ukranian, 41, said to rapturous applause: ‘I hope you enjoyed the fight.
‘The best man won tonight. And it’s an amazing event for boxing. Two gentleman fought each other and he was better today than I.
‘It’s really sad that I didn’t make it tonight I was planning to do it but it didn’t work. But all due respect to Anthony. Congratulations.’
Within minutes of his victory, Deontay Wilder the brash American champion holding his own version of the heavyweight belt said he would relish the chance to get into the ring with Joshua.
He said: ‘It sounds so lovely.’
In a later interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Joshua said: ‘I knew it was possible to hurt him, but I am learning round by round. I’m learning under the bright lights.
‘I don’t come to box, I come to hurt people. With all due respect, I came to hurt him.
‘At the end of the day, I figured out what I had to do and got him done.
‘I’m coming back to Wembley. I’ll look forward to seeing you here again.
‘There’s been many a time in training when we go into the 11th round and I’m tired but I know I have to keep it up because I have to go the distance.
‘I showed tonight that fights are won in the gym. It gets tough and boxing isn’t easy. You have to have the whole package.’
Speaking to YouTube boxing channel IFL.TV immediately after the fight, Sadiq Khan was quick to praise both men.
He said: ‘What a great fight what a great night. In round five he [Joshua] made us nervous but I tell you what what he’s got inside him, he bounced back and in round 11 he got the knockout – what else do you want?
‘He’s got three belts now and I’m looking forward to him having all five. But I tell you what, what you saw tonight in the sporting capital of the world in the best heavyweight boxing scene in years – Anthony Joshua, what a man!
Making a point of his admiration of the felled fighter, he added: ‘Wladimir Klitschko like his brother will go down as a boxing legend. He’s an amazing fighter an amazing champion legend, he’s handed over the baton to someone I think will be a champion of many years to come.
Finally, of Joshua’s potential future opponent Deontay Wilder, he said: ‘I hope Joshua shows some London spirit and knocks him out.’
Pop legend Ricky Martin praised both fighters and gave a special mention to felled Klitschko who ‘composed himself so well throughout’
JEFF POWELL fight report: Anthony Joshua climbs off the canvas to defeat Wladimir Klitschko with eleventh-round stoppage in remarkable heavyweight contest at Wembley
Anthony Joshua came back from a darkening place in Wembley Stadium into the dazzling light of heavyweight greatness as he ended the Klitschko heavyweight era.
Already the people’s hero in this, his homeland, the young British lion gained a whole new planet of admirers as he stopped the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of an epic world heavyweight title war.
Both these heavyweight giants went down from sledgehammer punches in the first half of a brutal battle between two men steeped in mutual respect, Klitschko in the fifth round, Joshua hitting the deck even harder in the sixth
A right uppercut from hell halted Klitschko’s clever approach to victory in the penultimate round. He rose but the 14-years younger man who had looked exhausted for some time took an energy charge from that success and dropped him again with vicious left hook.
Again the Ukrainian regained his feet, the way a true champion should go out. But he lurched back into a torrent of blows and American referee David Shields rightly intervened.
Joshua, a 27-year-old saved from the mean streets by boxing only eight years ago, was now the unified world heavyweight champion by virtue of his 19th knock out in his first 19 professional fights.
Although he did not decide on retirement as the huge assembly saluted his courage as well thundering their acclaim for the home-town superstar.
The perceived wisdom had been that Joshua would win early or Klitschko late.
It was heading that way until the Joshua lightning struck. He had looked out on his feet since landing his first knock down on Klitschko and it was his strength of will-power rather than his physical conditioning upon which he called for his miracle.
Even after the referee stopped it he staggered back to his corner, bereft of the breath to join the throng in their exultatations.
WBC champion Denontay Wilder was also an intense observer at ringside.
In the dressing room corridors at Wembley and the tunnel entrance to the pitch notices are posted warning that anti-noise ear protectors must be worn inside the stadium.
They are meant to guard against the high-decibel levels at concerts but the largest crowd in the history of British boxing gave Klitschho and Joshua a fairly deafening reception as they came to the ring.
The hype generated prior to this night had been more electrifying than for any previous fight in this country and the 90,000 in attendance were super-charged in expectation.
The new, young and ever-smiling British world champion against the veteran Ukrainian gentleman who until recently reigned over the marquee heavyweight division had caught the public imagination even more vividly than Our ‘Enery Cooper’s tilt at Muhammad Ali nee Cassius Clay and Frank Bruno’s persistence in finally winning his world title.
Earlier forecasts of rain and single digit temperatures come time for the big fight mercifully gave way to clear skies and a relatively mild evening.
As night fell Wembley was transformed from a sunlit paradise into a vast electric light theatre-in-the-round with the illuminated ring almost beating at the heart of the darkness and twinkling photo-flashes from tens of thousands of mobile phones lending a magical air.
The two gladiators looked to be the calmest people here as they were interviewed back-stage before making their entrances.
Both had scouted out the lengthy walk to the centre of the pitch beforehand. Neither Joshua nor Klitschko had left the so much as the tiniest detail to chance in their preparations.
For good reason. Joshua was coming to the threshold from IBF heavyweight title-holder to potential greatness, Klitschko bidding to extend a glittering career by joining the elite pantheon of three-time world heavyweight champions.
The first growl from the stadium’s throat came as pictures of Joshua having his hands wrapped appeared on the giant screens.
There were cheers from a sizeable German and Ukrainian presence as Klitschko was shown limbering up in his quarters. But the home fans were roaring as all Joshua’s 18 knock-outs were screened in quick-fire succession.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, to whom Klitschko had likened Joshua in his body-building prime was among the many celebrities, as was heavyweight royalty in Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and David Haye.
There was bedlam as AJ embarked on the latest journey, pausing to pose on a platform between blazing effigies of those two initials. He then touched gloves with that familiar grin. That whole performance kept Klitschko waiting in the ring for more than ten minutes.
There was a further delay, accompanied by loud music, before the national anthems were sung by 2015 X-Factor winner Louisa Johnson – and about 80,000 choristers – and Natalya Klitschko, the singer-songwriter wife of Wladimir’s former world heavyweight champion brother Vitali.
Finally, Michael Buffer got us Ready To Rumble.
Surprisingly, Klitschko had weighed in lighter than Joshua, by a full ten pounds. Presumably the older man was looking for more speed but although the first feelers came from his left hand the more meaningful of the early punches came from Joshua in flurries. A reasonable start for AJ.
Klitschko appeared to be looking to extend Joshua into his longest fight to date and he needed all those expert defensive skills to ward off the first really two-fisted charge from Joshua. But he was not entirely passive, even though Joshua extended his lead.
Klitschko upped the ante at the start of the fourth, connecting with a two-fisted attack early on. Although Joshua steadied himself he was having difficulty landing cleanly and was out-boxed for the first time.
Now came the Joshua everyone loves. A barn-storming onslaught which lowered Klitschko to his knees for an eight count. But the old man wasn’t done yet.
Joshua looked troubled and alarmed at the start of the sixth. His instincts were correct. Even with a nick on his cheek Klitshcko looked the stronger and proved it with a huge right which dropped him on to the seat of his pants, then his knees. Joshua climbed upright but the Ukrainian was the hunter now.
Klitschko had been accused of being the jabber and grabber but it was Joshua who was holding – and gasping – now as Klitschko took control with his experience and ring generalship.
Joshua needed to find a second wind and he showed signs of recovery in the eighth. Klitschko’s left eye had been damaged earlier and was swelling now. But after more lefts from Klitschko the Englishman’s left eye was showing signs of wear and tear.
Remarkably the 41-year-old was moving more fluently on his toes. The crowd were roaring for every Joshua swing but by no means all were landing. Even so, enough got through to give him a share of my first even round.
Klitschko had been expected to dominate the championship rounds. Joshua challenged that theory with another early burst. But he was missing a lot now and was received a second warning for hitting low as his frustration grew with Klitschko’s jab.
Joshua had gone back to his corner shaking his head. But after a lecture from trainer McCracken he mounted a magficent do-or-die effort.