Anthony Joshua, now the face of the heavyweight division, persevered through some very difficult moments but retained his world title — and won a vacant belt to boot — in dramatic fashion.
He did so by getting off the mat and knocking out former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who was bidding to become a three-time world champion, in the 11th round of an epic slugfest on Saturday night before a British-boxing-record crowd of 90,000 at sold-out Wembley Stadium.
The fight, after a buildup that captivated the British public and the boxing world, more than lived up to the massive hype that made it the biggest heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis knocked out Mike Tyson to retain the world title in 2002.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) April 27, 2017
Joshua, who retained his belt for the third time, answered the questions so many had asked of him before the fight: Was he too inexperienced for Klitschko, one of the greatest heavyweights in history? Was it too soon for Joshua to be matched with the legend? Would he be able to go deep into a fight for the first time? Would Joshua‘s chin hold up?
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, answered them all against Klitschko, the 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, after having won the title against the little-regarded Charles Martin and defending against fringe contenders Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina. Murderer’s Row they were not, but Klitschko was a different story.
“I’m not perfect, but I’m trying,” said Joshua, 27, of England. “I got a bit emotional because I know I have doubters. I’m only going to improve. Sometimes you can be a phenomenal boxer, but boxing is about character. When you go into the trenches, that’s when you find out who you really are. I came out, and I won — that’s how far I had to dig. I came back, and I fought my heart out.”
Culled from Dan Rafael’s article for ESPN