Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
In front of 90,000 excited fans, one of the most popular athletes of his decade, Olympic gold medalist, Anthony Joshua, puts his WBA and IBF heavyweight world title belts on the line. Joshua (known as 'AJ') at only 18-0, takes on former world champion, former super champion, a fighter who dominated the division for 11 years, Ukrainian veteran, Wladimir Klitschko, at Wembley Arena.
Klitschko (41) is leaps and bounds above Joshua in experience, Joshua (27) has age, time on his side, as well as the home advantage, also, in 2016, Klitschko was inactive, coming off a shock defeat which he suffered late in 2015, whilst Joshua, averaging a fight every 4 months in 2016, he has had 4 fights since Klitschko was defeated 17 months ago, in which time, Klitschko, has had none. Is this too soon for Joshua? Is it too late for Klitschko? Tyson Fury and gym mates insist Joshua won't last 7 rounds, whilst Tony Bellew (cruiserweight world champion, heavyweight contender) says Joshua may stop Klitschko in 2 rounds, but doubts Joshua will win the fight if it goes 4 rounds.
The atmosphere is electric, as the home fighter makes his ring entrance, Klitschko, truly in the lion's den, in territory he has not been in for many years, the underdog, the B-side, and fighting the most, though humble, popular, confident, intimidating of opponents. The support for Anthony Joshua, around Great Britain, and around the world, is incredible, HBO, and Showtime, both broadcasting the fight.
The fight begins very tentatively, Klitschko, seemingly more methodical, looking for openings, Joshua, seemingly more relaxed, seemingly trying to bully his older opponent. Joshua is the aggressor, and steals the opening round, almost a nothing round, though still, fans in attendance, and behind television screens, taking in, savouring every second.
Klitschko has his first success in round 2, when he lands a couple of heavy, accurate counter right hands to start the session, potentially sealing the round, though it is Joshua who throws all the things for the next 2-3 minutes.
Joshua looks quicker to the punch, more comfortable than Klitschko early in the fight, but Klitschko's skill, experience starts to play a part in the fight in round 4, as the Ukrainian begins to catch a less accurate Joshua on the counter more frequently, establishing his ability to outbox his younger opponent.
The fight is already generating millions of cheers all over the world, is fascinating, entertaining to watch, but Joshua, knowing he needs to take a risk, takes it to another level, as he chargee forward at Klitschko, bloodying, and much more importantly flooring him. Just as Joshua was beginning to dominate, he seems to tire, having put so much into his latest offensive burst, and Klitschko, not only looking like he has recovered, but not struggling to find the target of Joshua. For the last half of round 5, Klitschko batters a weary, unsteady Joshua, picking his punches very well, seeming to knock something out of Joshua. A viewer's scorecard doesn't tell the sotroy of the fight, as Klitschko, behind, but dominating. Klitschko resumes the onslaught in round 6, and with method, excellent timing, spite, he draws Joshua onto a deadly right hand, sending him crashing like a ton of bricks. Somehow, Joshua bites down on his gumshield, and rises up to his feet, exhausted, but determined, whilst Klitschko, unable to finish his opponent, but still well in control of the fight.
Klitschko has taken over the fight, he is moving well, moving at the right times, he is making this about experience, Joshua is made to look pedestrian, and he isn't managing to overpower Klitschko at this stage, fatigued, he is becoming an easy target for Klitschko, his work rate has dropped, and Klitschko is boxing very well, landing hurtful punches, though Joshua, on his feet, and the 41 year old Klitschko, working hard.
Klitschko's feet are slowing down, and Joshua isn't struggling so much to find the range to let some of his own shots go, he seems to be less fatigued than a couple of rounds ago, benefitting from his youth. Though Joshua is getting back into the fight, he is far from out of the woods in rounds 9 and 10, as a still mobile, tactically controlled Klitschko is still able outbox him at times, use his skill, experience, only Joshua is the aggressor, throwing more, pressing the issue, and outworking Klitschko for the duration of the rounds.
Klitschko looks to be on the defensive, though he is still able to land clean, it is the younger fighter who is coming on strong. Joshua lands a monstrous right uppercut near the middle of round 11, jarring up Klitschko's head, determined, but in serious trouble, Klitschko collapses without needing to be hit again, the referee counts, Klitschko beats it, but it doesn't look much better for Klitschko, as seconds later, Joshua destroys him with a devastating combination, heavily dropping Klitschko, who looks out before he hits the floor. The referee let's Klitschko continue as he gets up again, but seconds later, wisely, he decides he has seen enough, and the fight is over.
Anthony Joshua achieves a career defining victory, overcoming being nailed to the canvas by a crushing shot, being on the verge of defeat, digging deep, weathering the storm, and keeping hold of his belts with a fantastic, destructive win against a boxing legend.