BBC Sport – Anthony Joshua produced the performance of his career to add the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF crown with an enthralling knockout win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium yesterday.
A post-war record 90,000 fans at the national stadium were treated to a see-saw contest, Joshua dropping the former unified world champion in the fifth round, before being put down for the first time in his 19-fight career in the sixth.
Both men looked in danger of being stopped over two rounds which will live long in the memory, before Joshua delivered the clinical blows in the 11th.
The Briton landed a brutal uppercut which gave him the platform to send Klitschko down with an immediate flurry.
‘Dr Steelhammer’ stood, was dropped by a left hook again moments later, and then stood again, only for referee David Fields to save the challenger when pinned against the ropes.
Joshua threw his arms into the air as roars rolled down the Wembley tiers. He had come through the stiffest test of his career, while Klitschko had answered questions of his own, showing he remains competitive at world level, even at 41.
He will rue not finishing the job when he floored Joshua and appeared tantalisingly close to reclaiming two of the titles he lost in his last fight against Tyson Fury in 2015.
After the fight both men were gracious in their comments as they showed respect for each other.
“I’m a little bit emotional,” Joshua said. “I dug deep. I’m only going to improve. Boxing is about character. When you go into the trenches, that’s where you find out who you are.”
“I’m not perfect, but I’m trying, and if you don’t take part, you’re going to fail,” Joshua said, who improved to 19-0 with 19 knockouts.
“The best man won,” Klitschko said. “Anthony was better than I. It was really sad I didn’t make it tonight. I really wanted it. He got up, he fought back, he won the contest.”
Klitschko has the contractual right to a rematch with Joshua, who said after the fight he would like to fight Klitschko, Fury or anybody else.
“Tyson Fury, where you at baby? Is that what you want to see?” Joshua said. “I just want to fight everyone. I’m really enjoying this,” the champ stated to applause.
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