April 25th saw London’s massive Wembley Stadium fill up for the world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. The build-up to the fight was done appropriately by promoter Eddie Hearn – his fighter Joshua would cement his hold on the IBF and WBA world titles with a win over the revered former champion would be the perfect ending.
Hearn signed Joshua after the 2012 Olympics and they were ahead of schedule when Joshua defeated Charles Martin to grab the IBF world heavyweight title back in April of 2016. Since then, it has been a steady ascent for Joshua. The climb to the top of boxing’s heap came with his win over Klitschko.
Perhaps the very best version of Wladimir Klitschko showed up for his bout with Joshua.The former champion is a consummate professional and he was very focused on recapturing his belts. Though it had been more than a year since Klitschko hd lost his belts to Tyson Fury Klitschko had used the time to heal up injuries and to condition himself to tiptop shape.
All the bells and whistles for a big fight were there, but a “Fight of the Year” has to deliver in the ring as well. The two men exchanged tensely in the opening rounds and it was Joshua who struck first, sending Klitschko down to the canvas in the fifth rounnd. Everyone watched as Klitscshko got up and continued to fight. Though he was still in it as round five came to a close, he was clearly behind on the cards.
Klitschko had gathered himelf for round six and it was clear the Ukranian giant knew he was behind on the cards. He would put the entire storyline on it’s head when he landed his big right hand on Joshua, sending the challenger to the canvas. Though Klitschko has some critics, no one can deny the power of his big punch that allowed him to post 53 knock outs in his career. Joshua got up on wobbly legs and Klitschko tried hard to line up Joshua for the killer blow, but Joshua managed to survive the sixth.
From the sixth through the 10th the outcome of the fight was in doubt as both men battled back and forth. In the 11th Joshua would send Klitschko down to the canvas again to signal the beginning of the end. Like a proud champion Klitschko got up and it was Joshua who was now working to finish. After more than 30 minutes of fighting, an exhausted Joshua sent Klistschko down to the canvas again to end the fight and become “The Man” in the heavyweight division.
Klitschko moved for a rematch afterwards but he eventually retired without a return bout with Joshua. The last time we would see Wladimir Klitschko in the ring would be this past April 29th at Wembley Stadium as the former divisional kingpin passed off the torch to Joshua. That the two men did it in a “Fight of the Year” means that we close with this – Thank you, gentlemen for a great fight!