Anthony Joshua grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat after stopping Wladimir Klitschko to win the IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles after a thrilling contest in front of a record post-war crowd at Wembley Stadium. The London 2012 Olympic champion was put down in the sixth round but rallied brilliantly to dominate the Ukraine and claim victory in a dramatic contest which will go down in history.
The 27-year-old was himself floored for the first time in his career in the sixth round, after Klitschko had been downed in the fifth. The two-time world champion recovered from that knock-down and had Joshua rocking mid-way through the contest as he appeared to have punched himself off his feet.
With Klitschko seemingly holding a clear advantage he attempted to hold on to his position of authority during the second half of the bout. But he had no answer to Joshua's awesome power, which came to the fore during the twilight of the contest.
Klitschko went down twice in the 11th round, with the referee allowing the contest to continue, before another flurry of shots from Joshua saw the contest brought to a halt to spark wild celebrations throughout Wembley.
"What can I say? 19-0, three and a half years in the game," Joshua told Sky Sports. "As I 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."
Among the defining features of the build-up to the fight had been the mutual respect shared between the two and Klitschko maintained that tone in his post-fight message as he paid tribute to the victor. "The best man won tonight and it's a massive event for boxing," said the 41-year-old. "Two gentleman fought each other. Anthony was better today. It's really sad I didn't make it tonight. I was planning to do it, it didn't work. But all the respect to Anthony, congratulations."
You may be interested in:
- Anthony Joshua stops Wladimir Klitschko to become unified heavyweight champion - as it happened
- Deontay Wilder and Tony Bellew clash ahead of Joshua vs Klitschko battle
- The pole dancer who captured boxer Anthony Joshua's heart
- Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko to become unified heavyweight world champion