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Sports Then and Now

Klitschko versus Joshua: One of the Greatest Ever Fights?

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Elliot Ramsden

Joshua-boxing-2Despite having already been a heavyweight champion of the world, April 29, 2017 is the date that people will remember as the time when Anthony Joshua made the transition from potential to the realization of talent.

At a packed-out Wembley Stadium in London, Anthony Joshua faced Wladimir Klitschko – the greatest heavyweight since the turn of the millennium – in a journey that included thrills and spills during 11 rounds of brutal trading as the two man-mountains went toe-to-toe.

Often in boxing, the promotion outweighs the quality of the fight, leaving many boxing fans disappointed. But not a soul was left disappointed following the battle at Wembley.

Despite being 41 years of age, Klitschko showed he was still a top-tier boxer, and became the first man to put Anthony Joshua on the canvas during the sixth round, despite having been knocked down himself two rounds previously.

This was the first truly huge test facing Anthony Joshua, taking on a world-class fighter on the biggest stage in the world. He answered the questions in composed style, too, steadying himself after being knocked down to regroup and get his breath back – before returning comfortably to his feet and gradually taking back control of the fight – and finally ending it in blistering fashion with a TKO in the tenth.


Retirement on a high beckoned for Klitschko, while Joshua now harbors aspirations of title unification, with bouts against Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder in the pipeline for 2018. Indeed, Joshua is strong favorite to become the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, with boxing betting odds of 1/20 on him beating Parker, and 3/10 to do the same against Wilder.

The Changing of the Guard

Klitschko-Joshua was a true sporting spectacle. This was two men giving everything to the cause. One at the end of his career proving he still has what it takes, and the other, younger man, desperate to take everything the other has earned.

Despite eventually losing the fight, the quality and bravery of Klitschko was undeniable, earning himself many plaudits and fans in the process. This was in no way a sympathy vote, though. This was the heartfelt respect for a great champion, who had been surpassed (and only just) by another great champion. This fight was simply the changing of the guard.

The Closest of Title Fights

To put some context into just how close this fight was between Joshua (the reigning IBF belt holder) and Klitschko (the former WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring and lineal title holder), at the time of the stoppage in the eleventh round, Joshua was ahead on two of the judge’s scorecards at 96-93 and 95-93, while the other judge had Klitschko ahead at 95-93. Klitschko had also landed 37% of his 256 punches thrown, compared to 30% of Joshua’s 355. With a round to spare, Klitschko had landed 94 punches on the Brit, compared the 52 punches he had landed over 12 rounds against Tyson Fury in 2015.

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