In Wembley Stadium filled to its maximum capacity, Anthony retained his IBF heavyweight title by stopping former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko in the eleventh round of one the year’s best fights so far.
The fight was eventful and tactical from the opening bell. Klitschko was fighting from a distance setting all his offense with his authoritative jab. Joshua marginally got the better of the opening frames, landing his right hand and left jab.
Then a classic began.
In the fifth round, Joshua rocked and dropped Klitschko with a variety of punches, however seemingly punched himself out by the end of the frame. Klitschko returned the knockdown in kind in the sixth, dropping Joshua with a mammoth left hook. When it seemed that the veteran was taking the young champion to deep water, it was then the fight changed momentum again. After seemingly gassed after the massive fifth round, Joshua found his rhythm again by the ninth round and steadily was getting the upper hand again. In the eleventh, Joshua found his range again and dropped Klitschko twice more before the fight was called to a halt. In what was a fight that already had tremendous ebb and flow, it found another gear and took it to an even greater level.
As boxingscene editor Cliff Rold eloquently put, “This ended up being a little like [Rocky] Marciano-[Jersey Joe] Walcott I. The old man still had it. The young lion took it anyways.” For Joshua, the sky seems to be the limit. While the window may be limited for the aging former champion Klitschko, he showed the world all grit and determination a fan could ask for and why he reigned the heavyweight division for a decade without a loss.
What’s next both fighters? Rematch? Retirement (for Klitschko)? Mandatory defenses? We’ll know when we know.