As Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua admitted himself after getting off the canvas to finish Wladimir Klitschko and unify heavyweight titles during Saturday’s dramatic fight, he’s not perfect.
But his record remains so as Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) proved he just might be the perfect fighter to make boxing’s heavyweight division relevant once again.
“[I’m] 19-0, three and a half years in the game,” Joshua said. “As I’ve said, I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. I dig deep. It is what it is. As I’ve said, if you don’t take part, you’ll never know the outcome.”
Joshua, with Nigerian parents from Southwest, Nigeria, in front of an electric crowd of 90,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium, scored a pair of knockdowns in Round 11 to finish off an incredibly game Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) by TKO in a bout that marked the former champion’s return after losing his trio of world titles 17 months ago.
Joshua rocked Klitschko, 41, with a vicious right uppercut and sent him down with a flurry that followed. Klitschko was knocked down a second time after a combination against the ropes, but he continued to fight back despite being hurt until referee David Fields jumped in to rescue him as Joshua was teeing off.
“Both fighters gave their best. The best man won tonight, and it’s amazing event for boxing,” Klitschko said. “Two gentlemen fought each other. 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 and congratulations.”
Newsday gathered that Joshua’s mother, Mrs Yeta Odusanya was not at the ringside to watch him, that is because Joshua handed down a ban to his mum as he does not want the added distraction of a worrying mother on fight night.My old man will be there again, but I don’t really let my mum come to my fights,’ said Joshua.
“This is boxing. I’m only going to improve,” Joshua said. “Sometimes you can be a phenomenal boxer, but boxing is about character and when you go to the trenches, that’s when you find out who you really are. In this sport, there is nowhere to hide. As I said from the get go, it will be a boxing classic and the best man will win.
“As you can see, I fought and I won. That’s how far I had to dig.”
Joshua catches Klitschko early on.
Both fighters signed a two-fight deal ahead of the bout, and Klitschko appeared interested in a rematch when asked about it after the fight.
“Of course, we have it in the contract,” Klitschko said. “I am right now interested. [I need to] analyze what the heck has happened. I did enjoy the night. I wish I could raise my hands instead of being someone who didn’t make it and win the titles back. But congratulations to Anthony. He fought back and won the titles.”
Klitschko’s right hands sends Joshua to the canvas.
Joshua loses his mouthpiece early in round six. Joshua went down no thanks to a massive right hand by Klitschko.