By John J. Raspanti
Knocked down and seemingly out on his feet in round six, Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) dug deep to stop former undisputed heavyweight champion Wladimr Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in round 11 at a raucous Wembley Stadium in London, England Saturday night.
Joshua had the edge in the opening sounds. He worked his jab, and went to the body with authority.
Klitschko did connect with two hard right hands in rounds two and four, but Joshua
Joshua exploded out of his corner in round five. A left hook stunned Klitschko.
Seconds later, a culmination of blows sent the former champion to the canvas. Joshua, and likely most of the estimated 90,000 in the stadium, thought the fight was over, but Klitschko battled back, hurting an exhausted Joshua with a number of hooks at the end of the round.
A minute into round six, Klitschko landed a bomb of a right hand off Joshua’s temple. The 27-year-old IBF champion, separated from senses, fell to the canvas for the first time in his short career. He got up and wobbled. Klitschko, a 2-1 underdog entering the contest, went for the kill, but Joshua managed to stay upright.
Joshua still looked shaky in round seven. Klistchko, 41, was raking him with jabs and right hands. Joshua was searching for his second wind. It came at the end of round seven, when he found Klitschko’s body with a wicked hook.
With four rounds to go in the match, the fight was still up for grabs. Klitschko had rallied back and now was in control, but Joshua appeared to have righted the ship.
Klitschko popped his heavy jab in round 10-while Joshua continued to attack to the body and head. A long over hand right connected. Could the tide be turning again?
Joshua connected with a straight right hand in round 11 that buckled Klitschko’s knees. Klitschko tried to move away to stay out of danger, but with less than two minutes to go in the stanza, Joshua caught him with a wicked uppercut.
Seconds later, a number of blows sent Klitschko to the canvas for the second time.
Klitschko got up at six. A hard right knocked him into the ropes. Joshua landed another uppercut—followed by left that sent Klitschko falling to the floor like a huge tree. Klitschko hauled himself up. He gazed at Joshua as the referee counted, like a man waiting for the grim reaper to pull the switch.
Joshua wasted little time. He forced Klitschko to the ropes and let his hands go. After one more right hand connected to Klitschko’s head, referee David Fields waved the fight off.
The time was 2:25 seconds into round 11
“I’m not perfect, but I’m trying,” said Joshua. “I want to give a massive shut out to my trainer. A shut out to Wladimir Kliatchko. It’s about character. I had to dig deep.”
“The best man won tonight,” said a disappointed Klitschko. “Anthony was better.”
Klitschko has nothing to be ashamed of. He went out on his shield, showing great resolve and heart.