Joshua unifies titles in TKO win over Klitschko

Joshua unifies titles in TKO win over Klitschko

April 29, 2017


LONDON - In front of over 90,000 fans in the famous Wembley Stadium, Anthony Joshua tasted the canvas for the first time, but was able to recover and obtain the most significant victory of his career as he gained the TKO stoppage against Wladimir Klitschko.

Klitschko hadn't been within the square circle since his decision loss to Tyson Fury back in 2015. Many pundits felt the inactivity would hurt the Ukrainian's chances against the younger, undefeated Joshua. However, even though Klitschko, 41, suffered the fifth loss of his professional career, he still maintained that heart and skill that had kept him atop the heavyweight division for over a decade. Joshua made the first prominent statement of the bout when he dropped Klitschko within the first few rounds. 

With the momentum seemingly turning in Joshua's favor, Klitschko regained his composure and sent the Olympic gold medalist to the canvas for the first time in his 19 professional matchups as he [Klitschko] connected with a straight right hand that collapsed his legs from under him. Joshua, who is from Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, beat the traditional ten count and was able to finish the round. 

Joshua entered the eighth round of a bout for the first time in his career and Klitschko now had the momentum on his side. Nevertheless, the fight remained highly competitive up until the 11th round when, while in the middle of an exciting exchange between both heavyweights, Joshua landed a vicious right uppercut that snapped Klitschko's head back as if the bout had been a video game. Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) displayed his grit as he stayed on his feet after the shifting shot that would have sent many fighters directly to the floor. The 6 foot 7 Klitschko once again rose to his feet, but Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) smelled blood in the water and continued his barrage of punches that eventually gave him the TKO win and extended his knockout streak to 19. 

The best man won tonight and it’s an amazing event for boxing. Two gentlemen fought each other — I said “gentlemen” because boxing came from England — so, surely two gentlemen fought each other — Anthony was better today than I.
— Wladimir Klitschko

Klitschko landed 94 of his 247 total punches for a 37 percent rate, while Joshua connected on 107 of 355 for a 30 percent rate, according to CompuBox statistics. Unlike this bout, Klitschko had been down three times back in 2005 against Samuel Peter, but was able to recover well enough to reach the unanimous decision. Klitschko mentioned in the in-ring post-fight interview that a rematch clause was included in the contract and indicated his interest towards a follow-up battle. 

Joshua, 27, unified the IBF (world), IBO and the WBA super (world) heavyweight titles, but had to fight out of the trenches in his toughest bout to date. Many scores across a variety of publications had the fight close and a draw outcome was plausible entering the championship rounds. However, Joshua secured his own outcome by making the judges' cards irrelevant and making it known to the rest of the heavyweight division that he is now the man to beat in order to achieve supremacy. 

I’m only going to improve. When you go to the trenches, that’s where you find out who you really are.
— Anthony Joshua

Danny Z is a Senior writer for Frontproof Media. He is the founder of Z-BoxingNews (a partner with Frontproof Media), a YouTube channel that delivers the latest news, interviews, fighter workouts, & analysis within the sport. Check out the Z-BoxingNews YouTube channel HERE. Also follow on Twitter @DannyZ_Boxing

(Feature photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters)

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