Wladimir Klitschko took his second straight loss on Saturday night (April 29), when he was knocked out by undefeated British star Anthony Joshua.
In front of 90,000 fans at the sold-out Wembley Stadium in London, the 27-year-old Joshua knocked out the former longtime world champ in the 11th round, following an epic slug fest that shaped up to be the biggest heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis knocked out Mike Tyson in 2002.
Ultimately, Joshua retained his already held IBF title, while winning the vacant WBA and IBO belts.
During the fight, the new champ sent Klitschko to the canvas three times, but the heavyweight legend kept coming.
The fifth round, in particular, was action-packed. Joshua hurt Klitschko with a hard left hook that knocked him down. Klitschko got up quickly, and outlasted a barrage from Joshua before turning things around and landing a powerful left hook of his own, rocking the younger fighter. Klitschko started the sixth round where he left off in the fifth, landing an overhand right that dropped Joshua for the first time in his career… but he weathered the storm.
After the sixth, the pace slowed a bit, but in the 11th round, Joshua landed a a vicious uppercut that hurt Klitschko, followed by a hook and he went down hard. Though he made it to his feet, Joshua immediately pounced and referee David Fields stepped in and called the fight.
“The best man won tonight, and it’s an amazing moment for boxing,” Klitschko said after the fight. “Anthony was better today than I. It’s really sad that I didn’t make it tonight. I was planning to do it. It didn’t work. But all the respect to Anthony.”
“As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and you respect your opponent,” Joshua later added. “A massive shout-out to Wladimir Klitschko for taking the fight. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know if he wants to come back and fight me [again]. He’s a role model in the ring.”
Before losing to Tyson Fury (via unanimous decision) last November, Klitschko (64-5, 54 KOs) held the heavyweight title for 9½ years (second-longest in division history) and made 18 consecutive defenses (third-most in division history). Before Joshua, he had not been knocked down since 2005.
According to (via ESPN), Joshua was leading by a slim margin on the scorecards before the stoppage — 96-93 and 95-93 on two scorecards, with Klitschko ahead 95-93 on the third scorecard.
Klitschko and Joshua have a two-fight deal, so a rematch may be in the cards if Klitschko wants it.
Joshua, however, says he wants to fight Fury (25-0, 18 KOs). “Tyson Fury, where you at, baby?” Joshua said. “Come on — that’s what they want to see. I just want to fight everyone. I’m really enjoying this right now.”