Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: latest reaction – Joshua rallies to force stunning stoppage

Joshua knocked down, but emerges victorious
Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko put on an epic, see-sawing world heavyweight title fight at Wembley
  • 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.

Anthony Joshua's venonmous uppercut began the end phase for Klitschko
Anthony Joshua’s venonmous uppercut began the end phase for Klitschko CREDIT:REUTERS/ANDREW COULDRIDGE

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.

 

View image on Twitter
12:45am

Joshua tweets ‘onto the next one’

 

11:20pm

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.

 Anthony Joshua, left, punches Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko
CREDIT: MATT DUNHAM/AP

 

11:15pm

Who next for AJ?

Someone has a suggestion:

Wellldone @anthonyfjoshua good fight, you had life & death with @klitschko & I played with the guy, let’s dance 💃

 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.

11:12pm

Fighters’ verdicts

Such an amazing fight with 2 great fighters. Lot of heart by both fighters. A lot of questions answered by @anthonyfjoshua

How much heart did @Klitschko show in this fight? Gotta respect it. Hold ur head high brother!

 

11:03pm

And here is Paul Hayward’s snap verdict

An epic feat by Anthony Joshua to rise from a count of eight in the sixth and stop Klitschko in round 11. Overcame multiple crises to win.

 

10:59pm

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.

10:57pm

Joshua speaks

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.

10:51pm

The first knockdown in round 11

Is caught here:

After the uppercut, Joshua caught him on the way down with a right-hander
After the uppercut, Joshua caught Klitschko on the way down with a right-hander CREDIT:AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL

 

10:49pm

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

10:48pm

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.

10:46pm

Anthony Joshua recovers to win

Sensational moxie from Joshua. Sensational.

10:45pm

Joshua wins

The ref steps in to stop the fight with Klitschko finished but on his feet in a neutral corner and unable to defend himself.

10:44pm

But not for long

Joshua knocks him down again with a right hand … but he’s up again!

10:44pm

Klitschko is down again

Caught with a brutal uppercut, He’s back up ….

10:42pm

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.

Gareth’s verdict:

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

10:39pm

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

10:38pm

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.

10:35pm

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

10:34pm

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.

Klitschko knockdown
Klitschko knockdown CREDIT: REUTERS / ANDREW COULDRIDGE
Joshua knockdown
Joshua knockdown CREDIT:  NICK POTTS/PA

 

10:32pm

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

 

10:30pm

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.

10:27pm

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

10:26pm

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.

10:24pm

Joshua is on the canvas

Hit absolutely flush on the chin and his legs buckle, He’s up for now …

10:23pm

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

10:22pm

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.

10:19pm

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.

10:18pm

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

10:18pm

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.

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko -
CREDIT: NICK POTTS/PA

 

10:14pm

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

10:13pm

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.

Anthony Joshua (R) exchanges punches with Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko
CREDIT: BEN STANSALL/AFP

 

10:10pm

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

10:09pm

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.

 

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