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Anthony Joshua Defeats Wladimir Klitschko Via Technical Knockout in 11th Round

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Anthony Joshua  (White Shorts) and Wladimir Klitschko (Gray Shorts)  in action during the IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight World Title bout at Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The future of heavyweight boxing appears to belong to Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs).

The 27-year-old ascendant superstar answered plenty of tough questions from Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium, earning a technical knockout victory in the 11th round to win the IBO, IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles. 

The brilliant, operatic bout saw four knockdowns—three suffered by Klitschko and one by Joshua. 

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Joshua got to Klitschko first, knocking him down in the fifth round, but Klitschko came back and sent Joshua to the canvas for the first time in his career in the sixth. In the end, Joshua's lethal power won out, as he crushed Klitschko in the 11th with two knockdowns and a barrage on the ropes that forced the referee to call the bout. 

The Joshua uppercut that turned Klitschko to mush early in the 11th will be replayed for a long time. It wasn't the knockout blow, much to the amazement of CBS Sports' John Schriffen, but it spelled the end for Klitschko: 

John Schriffen @JohnSchriffen

How was Klitschko still standing after that upper cut?!?! Looked like a video game. #KlitschkoVsJoshua @ShowtimeBoxing

 The reaction from Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole and Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden summed it up:

Kevin Iole @KevinI

WOW WOW WOW #JoshuaKlitschko What a scene, what a fight.

Basking in his post-victory glory in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley, Joshua made sure to praise Klitschko, calling him a "role model," per the Showtime broadcast.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in action during the IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight World Title bout at Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Klitschko looked nothing like the version of himself that lost to Tyson Fury in a listless, dreary bout in November 2015. At 41 years old, he still looked a picturesque form of the human body, but it wasn't enough for him to survive a full 12 rounds with a budding phenomenon in Joshua. 

Joshua also called out Fury after the bout, per the Manchester Evening News' James Robson:

James Robson @JamesRobsonMEN

Joshua calls out Fury: I want to give 90,000 people another night of boxing

Joshua looked tentative to begin the bout—a cautious mode rarely seen to this point in his career—but with good reason. Klitschko reigned over the heavyweight division for more than a decade behind a phenomenal jab, and Joshua knew he wasn't going to rip through his tactically sound opponent like he had in so many of his previous bouts.

Joshua finally opened up the attack in the third round, but a spry, bouncing Klitschko prevented him from landing many clean shots. Saturday Night Boxing's Adam Abramowitz assessed the first three rounds: 

adam abramowitz @snboxing

Wlad expending so much energy on defense that his offense is often an afterthought. 2-1 AJ.

After another slow fourth that saw Klitschko steal the opening round with a quick one-two, Joshua took a page out of his veteran opponent's book but rewrote it in his own fashion. The English star pounced at the opening bell, unleashing a massive flurry of punches, a 20-second barrage that ended with Dr. Steelhammer on the canvas. Showtime Boxing provided a still:

SHOWTIME Boxing @ShowtimeBoxing

.@anthonyfjoshua letting em fly in the 5th! #JoshuaKlitchsko https://t.co/jD69LCWgyo

The explosion of violence left Klitschko with a cut over his left eye but also saw Joshua looking rather spent, and the Ukranian came back in unbelievable fashion, pummeling Joshua in a way the 27-year-old had yet to experience as a pro. 

CBS Sports' Brian Campbell praised Klitschko for staying with it: 

Brian Campbell @BCampbellCBS

All credit to Klitschko for fighting like a true champ here. This is man stuff. Deep end of pool. Joshua being tested.

The sixth round would see a heavy-legged, hard-breathing Joshua take the canvas for the first time in his career after a thunderous straight right hand. Boxing journalist Andreas Hale wasn't liking what he saw from Joshua:

Andreas Hale @AndreasHale

Joshua is getting hit by shots he sees coming but is too tired to get away from. Smh

Bad Left Hook's Tom Craze described the hard hit from Klitschko:  

Tom Craze @TomCraze

The noise that right hand made, good grief.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in action during the IBF, WBA and IBO Heavyweight World Title bout at Wembley Stadium on April 29, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The latter half of the fight shaped up as a test of stamina, endurance and tactics. Klitschko, despite being 14 years Joshua's senior, looked better prepared to control the late rounds. The clinching from Klitschko made only a few brief appearances, and Joshua used that to his advantage, working the body in spurts. 

Eventually, Joshua's power and spirit won out. His decisive action in the 11th round drew a wild response from the likes of Abramowitz and Bad Left Hook: 

Bad Left Hook @badlefthook

REFEREE STOPS THE FIGHT IN ROUND 11 WITH WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO AGAINST THE ROPES! ANTHONY JOSHUA IS STILL UNDEFEATED!

adam abramowitz @snboxing

That 11th round made me jump up and down like a madman.

It was a fight that will not soon be forgotten by those fortunate enough to witness it in person or on broadcast.

A rematch could be in the works and would likely make for another entertaining night of boxing, but the way Joshua ended the bout might have fans ready for him to move on and take on Fury, or any other challenger brave enough to step between the ropes with him. 

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