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Anthony Joshua Stops Wladimir Klitschko By 11th-Round TKO

ESPN Boxing

It was a cliché battle of the teacher versus the student as heavyweight combatants Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko came entered the ring tonight at Wembley Stadium to fight for the WBA and IBF belts. The fight started out in a traditional feel out round with Anthony Joshua actually outjabbing Klitschko, who is more known for his jab. There was not much action in the round but Joshua was the more active of the two. Round 2 was still somewhat of a feel out process but Klitschko's movement kept Joshua at bay. Klitschko provided a little bit of offense in the round but Joshua continued to try to put his jab out there as well. Klitschko was able to land a straight right on Joshua that was the most significant punch of the fight until that point. Klitschko was still weary about throwing his jab out there in round 3, which provided opportunity for Joshua to throw his. Joshua was definitely the more offensive at this juncture of the fight but Klitschko appeared to be settling in the latter stages of the round as he landed a 1-2 combo towards the end of the round that gave him some confidence heading into the fourth. Klitschko, who was king of the division for the previous decade pumped his jab with confidence as Joshua looked stifled at times. The savvy veteran began utilizing his old familiar tactic of clinching in the round. Joshua was able to land a few body shots on the inside when Klitschko did this but the rest of his offense was stagnant.

After apparently losing the previous round, Joshua came out like a dart in round 5 and blitzed Klitschko and was able to open up a gash over the eye of Klitschko. Moments later he landed a thunderous combo that began with a left hook and ended with a right that sent the future hall of famer to the canvas. However, AJ my have exerted too much energy while picking up the pace. Klitschko was able to come back in the round and finally began to land his left hook, as Joshua appeared gassed. We now had ourselves a fight! In round 6 Klitschko worked off his jab as Joshua continued to show exhaustion. Klitschko was able to send the IBF champ to the mat for the first time in his career after he landed a thunderous straight right. The young champ appeared on shaky legs the rest of the round but was able to survive as Klitschko landed several other hard punches throughout the round.

Joshua regained his legs in round 7 but was not very active. Klitschko controlled the round with his jab and lead left hook. It was beginning to look like the young champion may have taken on this fight a bit too soon in his young career despite having success earlier in the bout. Klitschko was now taking him into waters that he had never before seen. This would mark the first time in Joshua's career that a fight went past the seventh round. We have become accustomed to seeing Joshua blitz through opponents, but Klitschko was actually able to put Joshua on his back foot in round 8, as he became the stalker. In typical Klitschko fashion, he controlled everything off of his piston-like jab, which was now landing at will against Joshua. However, Joshua was still game in the contest as he was able to land a few body blows to keep Klitschko honest. It was more of the same from Klitschko in round 9. He landed his jab pretty easily throughout the round and dictated the pace. Joshua was not able to land anything effective up top at this stage of the fight.

As the fighters entered the championship rounds, Klitschko began showing more experience over the young champion. Klitschko continued to control the pace of the fight with his jab in round 10. He tied Joshua up even more in this round but would make sure Joshua was bent over each time so he would expend more energy in the clinch. Joshua came out reinvigorated in round 11 after a pep talk from fellow UK fighter Tony Bellew in his corner. Joshua pressured Klitschko and landed a thunderous right uppercut to send him to the canvas. Klitschko was on unsteady legs from then on out. Joshua continued his onslaught and landed a left hook flush on the chin of Klitschko that began his fall to canvas as Joshua finished off the combination with another right hand that would mark the third knockdown of the fight for Joshua. Joshua was able to close the show as he burrowed Klitschko into the ropes and threw one last flurry as the referee stepped in to call a halt to the bout.

Joshua overcame a knockdown and going into the late rounds for the first time in his career to unify the WBA and IBF titles in under 20 professional fights. In the post-fight interview, Joshua showed a lot of class towards the ex-champion and was heavily cheered on by the sellout crowd of 90,000 attendees. One thing that came up during the post-fight interview was a rematch clause, which Klitschko has the ability to enforce. So any other thoughts about immediate heavyweight unification will definitely have to wait for the young lion Anthony Joshua. Together with Klitschko, who was known for putting up lackluster fights, the two helped put the spotlight back on a division that has been heavily frowned upon in recent years with their valiant performances. This was a great night for the sport of boxing. Although a very generic quote, it is apropos to sum up tonight's heavyweight clash. This was a fight that will be seen as a passing of the heavyweight torch to Anthony Joshua, who was at one time a sparring partner for the future Hall of Famer he claimed a victory over tonight.

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