In an epic Wembley battle with 90,000 spectators in attendance to watch the fight, Anthony Joshua retained his IBF world title and added the WBC “super” belt by stopping Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of their heavyweight contest.
The 27-year-old British heavyweight has remained unbeaten in all 19 professional fights while the 41-year-old Ukrainian heavyweight has had over 68 fights, 29 of them as champion in an 11-year stretch.
Joshua celebrated in the ring with a message that sounded like a recruiting call for all the lost youth he likes to represent: “If you don’t take part, you fail. Boxing is about character. There is nowhere to hide. No complications about boxing. Anyone can do this. Give it a go. You leave your ego at the door. Massive respect to Klitschko. He’s a role model in and out of the ring and I’ve got nothing but love and respect for anyone who steps in the ring. London, I love you. Can I go home now?”
For Klitschko, he acknowledged: “The best man won. It’s really sad I didn’t make it tonight. But all respect to Anthony.”
Meanwhile, Joshua, in his speech again challenged Klitschko for a rematch. His words: ” I’m not gonna say too much, in case he wants a rematch, but in terms of the boxing hall of fame, he’s a role model in and out of the ring.” But the dust will have to settle before rematches are discussed.