- Joshua wins by TKO in 11th round
- IBF world heavyweight champ wins IBO and WBA belts
- Joshua on canvas once, Klitschko three times
- 90,000 crowd at Wembley for biggest fight for 80 years
- Taylor, Campbell and Quigg all win in undercard
Anthony Joshua has retained his IBF world heavyweight title and won the vacant WBA and IBO belts by defeating Wladimir Klitschko in a pulsating, tospy-turvy fight in front of the biggest boxing audience in the UK for almost 80 years.
Joshua had to get off the canvas to do it after being knocked down in the sixth by the 41-year-old former champion and for a long troubling spell afterwards he looked on the brink of imminent defeat as he wobbled and clung on without counter-punching.
But he withstood all Klitschko’s attempts to finish the fight off and rallied late to knock the challenger to the floor twice in the 11th round, the first teed up by a savage uppercut and the second with a venomous left hook.
Klitschko, who held at least one version of the title for 15 years from 2000, took mandatory eight counts both times but was then backed into a corner and forced the referee to step in to protect him because he was unable to defend himself.
Klitschko had also been felled in the fifth but Joshua also came desperately close to defeat after suffering the first knockdown of his 19-fight professional career one round later.
Perhaps suffering momentary over-confidence, he was felled by a huge right hander in a bruising seesaw encounter that had both fighters scenting victory.
Eventually it was Joshua, 14 years the 41-year-old Ukrainian’s junior, who showed the heart and stamina to claim an epic contest in one of the greatest performances by a British fighter and one raucously celebrated by 90,000 fans.
The final assault
Came after two knockdowns in the 11th round. I haven’t seen a still of the uppercut that instigated the first (or second overall after one in the 5th) but it was as fine and sly a right-hand as I’ve seen.
Who next for AJ?
Someone has a suggestion:
But Deontay Wilder fancies a crack “with open arms” at a night like this at Wembley. And Tony Bellew is not ruling it out either.
Wladimir Klitschko speaks
London I love you. The best man won tonight. Two gentlemen fought each other. Anthony was better than me tonight. It was really sad I didn’t do it. Love and respect to you guys, you are awesome. I wish I could raise my hands instead of not winning the title back. [A re-match?] I have to work out what the hell happened here.
Well, what can I say. First and foremost 19 and 0, three and a half years in the game. I’m not perfect but I’m trying. If you don’t take part you fail. I want to give a biog shout out to my trainer and GB boxing, to 90,000 people in the arena and lastly a massive shout-out for Wladimir Klitschko. I’m not going to say too much in case he wants to come back and fight me again but he is a role model in and out for the ring and I’ve got huge respect and love for Wladimir Klitschko … I am a little bit emotional because there are people who think I can’t do it. I dig deep and you never know the outcome.
Boxing’s about character and when you go to the trenches that when you find out where you are. There’s nowhere to hide in that little ring. I came out and won that’s how deep i had to dig. I fought my heart out.
And Tyson Fury baby, where are you man? I want to give 90,000 people another chance to watch a night like this.
Gareth on round 11
Rd 11 The place has gone mad. Klitschko is down twice after he was hurt by a left hook and a four punch combination. The brave old champion is up, and Joshua is on him again. Down goes Klitschko again as the spite is there in AJ from another murderous left hook. Up again is the Ukrainian. But he looks gone. Joshua traps him in his own corner and unleashes hell, as he promised he would, and referee David Fields has seen enough as Klitschko’s head is battered across his shoulders, Great fight, by any standards. Joshua wins by TKO in the eleventh round
What an extraordinary assault in round 11
First a vicious uppercut put him on the floor, followed by a right cross. A brutal left hook knocked him down a second time in this round then a crisp combo finished the old warrior in the corner and Klitschko went out on his shield. Brilliant finale. It was close and topsy-turvy throughout.
The ref steps in to stop the fight with Klitschko finished but on his feet in a neutral corner and unable to defend himself.
Round 10 of 12
Joshua has rediscovered some mojo and uses his right hand over the top to smack into Klitschko’s neck. He’s dancing again now though Klitschko knows he has this so far if nothing dramatic happens so stands behind the jab and when Joshua pushes it, Klitschko belts him with a big right hand. Tony Bellew thinks Klitschko is tiring and has to land a right hand and not play chess.
Joshua has his senses back and is bouncing again on his feet. Big overhand right from AJ glances, and a better one glances, too. Then a body shot. Klitschko looks tired. Two rights on the bell from Klitschko. Klitschko 10/9
Gareth on round 9
They are tiring now and tying up more. Cuffing,sneaky right from Klitschko in the clinch. They are cancelling each other out. I think AJ is going on heart, and the old champion urging his old legs on. It is such a fascinating fight. Nothing between them in that round 10/10 draw
Round 9 of 12
Klitschko is still on his toes but an excellent right from Joshua stops him in his tracks followed by a cute left hook to the solar plexus. Most people at the ringside have Joshua behind by at least a point and with Klitschko’s experience at tying opponents up, Joshua needs to find some concussive rhythm and soon.
Gareth on Round 8
Big right hand from Klitschko as they fence at each other with the jab. Jab, jab from AJ. My God he is learning on the job tonight. Klitschko creating angles and looking to do damage with at right hand again. Light on his feet, too. AJ less so. That big right wins WK the round. Klitschko 10-9
Round 8 of 12
Virgin territory for Joshua and Klitschko, at 41, still looks fresh in his footwork. Joshua was told to work the combinations and get his jab going but Klitschko is backing him into a neutral corner then attempting to work him over but he doesn’t have the stamina to sustain the assault and Joshua is coming back and whacks him over the right ear with a long straight left.
Gareth on round 7
Klitschko boxing smart now. This is an amazing fight. the old champ has his jab going again, and Joshua is recovering. Huge fitness and heart. Huge lessons here first AJ. Huge. If he can come through this we will know that he can be hurt and win. Klitschko 10-9
Round 7 of 12
Klitschko is still trying to set up that right hand. Joshua is in retreat, throwing no jabs, breathing out of his backside. Klitschko’s experience and wiliness are poised to pounce. With 40 seconds left Joshua is still on the back foot and looks like a sitting duck. But he withstands a heavy right and Klitschko nods at him. He’s trying to play for time to recover. Klitschko should have finished it in the past two rounds.
Gareth on round 6
Joshua felled by a huge tight hand. Oh, this is so bad. He is in a very bad way. Makes it to his feet,. Ducks, holds and sways his way to the end of the round. This is incredible. Klitschko should have put AJ away. Klitschko 10-8
Round 6 of 12
After knocking him down Klitschko is trying to set him up for the right, the Dr STeelhammer finisher but Joshua manages to weather the storm, The right-hand that landed was ‘straight down the pipe’. He was badly shaken but is not finished yet.
Joshua is on the canvas
Hit absolutely flush on the chin and his legs buckle, He’s up for now …
Gareth on round five
What a round. Klitschko down and looked finished, and AJ thought he’s won it. Klitschko makes the count, fights back, and AJ is on the ropes and nearly finished. So exciting. Both exhausted. Could go any way now,, down to heart, desire and fitness… Score 10/9 Joshua
Round 5 of 12
Rob McCracken told Joshua to relax but he starts like a train and puts Klitschko on to the canvas with a punishing sequence of lefts but back comes Klitschko and lands right after left after right. It”s Joshua who is on the brink now. He stays on his feet but he is not defending himself properly. He rides it out. Blimey.
Klitschko hits the floor
And takes an eight count. Brilliant from Joshua, Can he finish him off. There’s sill two minutes left in the round.
Gareth on round 4
Danger for AJ. Straight right from WK rocked him. But he weathered it well. Klitschko buoyant here. Big body slap from AJ. They exchange. Klitschko misses with the left hook, but AJ lands with the right. Klitschko still not doing enough.Bothg landed one significant punch. 10/10
Round 4 of 12
Klitschko catches Joshua with a brutal right hand after a left hook and Joshua has to take recourse in a hold that the referee breaks. Joshua isn’t troubled so much as disconcerted as Klitschko tries to line up the left hook. Landing those punches has spurred Klitschko’s confidence but he leaves himself open and Joshua snaps a left on to his opponent’s jaw but not square on. Klitschko looks enlivened.
Gareth’s round three verdict
More aggression from AJ in that round, but Klitschko showing he is smart and knows how to survive. But the old champion throws so few points these days, AJ needs to be careful of WK counter left hook, AJ 10/9
Round 3 of 12
Terrific combination from Joshua and he deploys his hand speed to catch Klitschko with a right-left-right to Klitschko’s head. The challenger backs off and tries to get his hands up then jumps back to avoid the jab. Deontay Wilder says Klitschko cannot last long at this round’s pace from Joshua who has got his percussive jab working. Klitschko looked rattled for the first time.
Gareth on Round 2
Rd 2 Fascinating again. Chess match. Joshua winning the battle of the jab which means Klitschko can’t jab, gran and tie him up. Joshua desperate to let right hand go. Very smart so far. AJ 10-9
Round 2 of 12
Klitschko comes straight into the centre and throws a big right hand that doesn’t rock Joshua but gas marked him above the left eye. Better from Klitschko, using the jab but Joshua rallies strongly and hits a rapid right overhand. Klitschko using his geometry to slip away. Has some sap in his legs too, Klitschko.