Nigerian-born British boxer Anthony Joshua delivered one of the great nights in the sport’s history in Britain, as he handed former World heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, a crushing defeat on Saturday.
It was billed as the biggest fight night ever staged in a British ring and it did live up to its billing with so much for the 90,000 fans at the Wembley stadium and beyond to cheer about.
27-year-old Joshua stopped his 41-year-old Ukrainian opponent, in the 11th round to snatch the WBA title from Klitschko while retaining the IBF and IBO world championship titles.
Joshua, the home favourite, knocked down Klitschko twice in the 11th round before the referee stepped in to save the latter from further punishment.
In a sensational fifth round, Joshua knocked down Klitschko only to end up hanging on desperately at the end of the round as the Ukrainian launched a remarkable comeback.
Joshua in the 6th round had his first professional fall to the canvass and looked close to surrendering his unbeaten record his late bombardment forced the stoppage of the bout.
At a news conference after the bout, both boxers expressed satisfaction with the turn of events.
“It was a great night, great night for boxing, great night for fans and it was an exciting fight, so I’m happy about that and that’s what I’m taking with me”, Klitschko told the media.
“You will probably be also surprised at my statement but I don’t feel as, I don’t feel as someone that lost and I think tonight that we all won even if I didn’t get the belts, but I don’t feel that I lost.”
On the question of his next fight, Klitschko said: “I’m not gonna consider anything, I’m not gonna make any statements right now. It’s too early. I feel actually pretty good, considering I lost, and I will take my time and I will let you know.”
Joshua on the other hand spoke about his “ultimate respect for him (Klitschko) for what he’s achieved inside and outside of the ring but I wouldn’t mind fighting him again if he wants a rematch, no problem”.
He also congratulated his opponent whom he said doesn’t have to fight “but he wants to challenge the young lions of the division”.
“I like fighting and we don’t back down, we’ll go for whatever and now we’re at the forefront at the minute, we can’t get too complacent and sit down and enjoy these times” Joshua said adding that “we have to get up and defend them again”.
Saturday night’s bout is said to have attracted a gate that has not been matched for a British boxing event since Len Harvey fought Jock McAvoy for the British light-heavyweight title in 1939.