ANTHONY JOSHUA’S 11th-ROUND TKO [VIDEO] WIN OVER WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO CAPS FIGHT OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE

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ANTHONY JOSHUA’S 11th-ROUND TKO [VIDEO] WIN OVER WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO CAPS FIGHT OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE.

Wow! I’d like to offer something more sophisticated as my lede for the Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KO) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4) fight, but the action from London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday reduced me to a three-letter interjection. This was the Fight of the Year thus far in my book and a bout we will look back on with reverence for years to come.

Joshua scored an exhilarating 11th-round TKO victory to retain his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles, but he was pushed to the brink by a future Hall of Famer who looked to be at the top of his game.

After dropping Klitschko in the fifth round and launching himself into an uncharacteristic premature celebration, Joshua was floored for the first time in his career by a clean and vicious straight right hand in the sixth round.

The turn in momentum began in the fifth after the knockdown. Joshua let out a primal yell as Klitschko dropped to his knees under the champion’s onslaught. Joshua thought the fight was over, but Klitschko showed incredible toughness.

He rose to his feet and recovered pretty quickly. The challenger landed a hard left hook that hurt Joshua. To compile his issues, Joshua seemed to be suffering from exhaustion, which in this kind of situation is usually caused by the energy dump one feels after a massive celebration.

Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko falls to the canvass after being hit by Britain’s Anthony Joshua (L) during round five of their IBF, IBO and WBA, world Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Stadium in north west London on April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Joshua also looked to have punched himself out trying to get rid of Klitschko in the fifth. That left him open for the shots he ate in the fifth and the one that put him down in the sixth.

For well over a minute in the sixth frame, it looked as if Joshua would be stopped.

Referee David Fields (R) prepares to step in as Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko (C) puts Britain’s Anthony Joshua on the canvass in round six of their IBF, IBO and WBA, world Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Stadium in north west London on April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

However, he persevered and ultimately regained his wherewithal. It would take him about 2.5 rounds to completely regain all of his faculties, but once he did, he picked up where he’d left off.

When he initiated the action, he had much more success and that’s what he started to do in the ninth. Joshua went to the body in that frame and he hurt Klitschko in the 10th with power lefts, but the former champion took the shots pretty well. In the definitive round, Joshua landed this massive uppercut that set up the finish:

In the definitive round, Joshua landed this massive uppercut that set up the finish:

@TheAdepoju: You can’t look at this and not cringe. #JoshuaKlitschko pic.twitter.com/DlU5x2cZCM

It was amazing Klitschko, a man not known for his chin, withstood that shot, but he did. Moments later a more controlled attack from Joshua put Klitschko down again. The fight could have been stopped at that point, but referee David Fields allowed it to continue.

Seconds later, Joshua would pummel Klitschko in the corner until Fields stepped in to call an end to the fight.

Both men deserve massive respect for this performance and those sentiments were shared throughout the boxing community immediately after the fight.

A Joshua win was best for boxing, but for it to happen in this fashion was icing on the cake. We saw the sport’s next global star overcome adversity and score the biggest win of his career over a legend in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium – and the fight was an instant classic.

Britain’s Anthony Joshua celebrates in the ring after his victory over Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko in the eleventh round of their IBF, IBO, and WBA, world Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Stadium in north west London on April 29, 2017.Britain’s Anthony Joshua defeated veteran Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight title fight epic in front of 90,000 people at Wembley on Saturday, taking victory on an 11th round stoppage. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

It couldn’t have happened any better for the sweet science. As the heavyweight division goes, so goes the overall popularity of the sport. Joshua and Klitschko have gotten a lot of help from the likes of Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Danny Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko, but this fight was the best thing to happen to the sport in a long time.

Will there be a rematch? Klitschko seems to want one per his post-fight interview, but for now, we should just enjoy the sport’s resurgence.

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