Nigerian-born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua delivered one of the great nights in British boxing history by stopping Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round to be crowned IBF, WBA and IBO world heavyweight champion.
He staged the feat in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, reported Reuters.
The unbeaten home favourite earned a sensational victory by knocking down the 41-year-old former champion twice in the 11th and penultimate round before the referee stepped in to save Klitschko from any more punishment.
What was hailed as the biggest fight night ever staged in a British ring, watched by the biggest crowd for a boxing show in Britain for 78 years, lived up to its billing as Joshua survived a knockdown for the first time in his professional career in the sixth round.
In a sensational fifth round, he knocked down Klitschko only to end up hanging on desperately at the end of the round as the Ukrainian launched a remarkable comeback.
The veteran had even looked the more likely winner as he defied a 14-year age gap and was outboxing Joshua in the latter stages until the Briton produced a blistering finish to take his unbeaten record to 19 wins.
The Ukrainian in his post match comment noted that he needed to take some time to “figure out” what happened.
“The best man won tonight and it’s a massive event for boxing. Two gentlemen fought each other. Anthony was better today. It’s really sad I didn’t make it tonight.
“I was planning to do it, it didn’t work. But all the respect to Anthony, congratulations,” he said.
Klitschko has now lost his last two fights, albeit over a space of 16 months.
On his part, Joshua said, “What can I say? 19-0, three and a half years in the game. As I said, I’m not perfect but I’m trying and if you don’t take part you’re going to fail.
“As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and you respect your opponent. So a massive shout out to Wladimir Klitschko,” he said.
He also used the opportunity to request for a fight against Tyson Fury, who also beat Klitschko — on points in November 2015 — but has not fought since.
“Tyson Fury, where (are) you at baby?” asks Joshua.
“Come on, is that what you want to see? I enjoy fighting. I love fighting. Tyson Fury I know he has been talking a lot and wants to come back and compete.
“I want to give 90,000 people another chance to come back and watch some boxing here,” shouts out Joshua who is now a three-belt champion as he also holds the IBO title.
Joshua was born in Watford to a Nigerian mother and a British father of Nigerian and Irish descent. He made his professional debut in 2013.
Joshua grew up for some of his early years in Ijebu-Ode Nigeria and returned to the UK halfway through Year Seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School.
Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, Joshua was called ‘Femi’ by his friends and former teachers, due to his middle name ‘Oluwafemi’. He excelled at football and athletics and broke the Year Nine 100m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.
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