Anthony Joshua claimed a second world title on Saturday evening after beating Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in one of the most spectacular and dramatic heavyweight boxing fights of the past few decades.
Joshua, who won Olympic gold for Team GB at London 2012, eventually stopped his Ukrainian foe in the 11th round to add the vacant WBA heavyweight title to the IBF belt he already held.
The Brit’s professional record moves to 19-0, and his 100 per cent KO record is still intact but he was knocked down for the first time in his career in round six, having floored Klitschko in the previous round.
Joshua then knocked the 41-year-old down twice in the penultimate round before another barrage shortly afterwards forced the referee to step in and call a halt to the fight, to the delight of the 90,000 partisan fans in attendance.
And the 27-year-old claims there is still more to come after the toughest bout of his career.
“As I said, I'm not perfect but I'm trying,” said Joshua. “You leave your ego at the door and respect your opponent. Wladimir is a role model in and out of the ring.
“I'm a little bit emotional, because I know I've got doubters.
“This is boxing – I’m only going to improve. Boxing is about character – when you go to the trenches, you find out who you really are.
“I said it would be a boxing classic and the best man would win. I fought my heart out and got him out there, that’s what I’m about.”
The disparity in professional experience of the men could hardly have been greater, with Klitschko having accrued more knockouts in his career (54) than Joshua had fought rounds (44) heading into the fight.
But Joshua settled quickly, working his jab and looking right at home before flooring Klitschko with a flurry of shots early in the fifth round.
But the veteran, whose record now stands at 64-5, recovered well and rocked the Brit later in the same thrilling round before knocking him down with a brutal right hook in the next.
The Brit hung on until the end of the round despite his wobbly legs and started to feel his way back into the fight heading into the final quarter.
And round 11 proved to be the last as Joshua landed a huge right hand to sting Klitschko, and followed that up with a brutal uppercut to send him to the canvas.
Klitschko got to his feet, only to be floored by a pinpoint left hook soon after and although he again valiantly rose, a Joshua barrage prompted the referee to step in and end proceedings.
And the gracious Ukrainian paid tribute to his young opponent – who he sparred with for 20 rounds in Austria back in 2014 – after his efforts to reclaim a world title came up just short.
“Both fighters gave their all tonight and the better man won,” said Klitschko. “Anthony was better than me tonight. All the respect to Anthony and congratulations.
“Of course I am interested in a rematch. I wish it was my hand being raised – I was planning to do it, it didn't work.”
Joshua wasn’t the only Olympian to find success at Wembley on Saturday evening as both Luke Campbell and Joe Cordina recorded victories on the undercard.
Campbell, who won bantamweight gold for Team GB at London 2012, earned a shot at the WBA lightweight title by recording a ninth-round stoppage of Darleys Perez.
The 29-year-old dominated the eliminator contest by controlling the centre of the ring and his Colombian opponent was forced to pull out with an apparent elbow injury.
The win sets up a tantalising fight with Venezuelan superstar and WBA champion Jorge Linares, who was ringside for the bout.
And Cordina – who fought for Team GB in Rio last summer – notched a second stoppage win in seven days by overpowering Sergej Vib in the first round of their super-featherweight contest.
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