In addition to establishing himself as the world’s leading heavyweight by defeating Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua answered so many of the questions surrounding his ability.
Concerns had persisted that this fight would prove too soon for him, but his knockout victory finally justified his billing as the heavyweight of the future.
Here, we analyse five things learned from Saturday’s fight at Wembley Stadium.
He was perhaps fortunate to win his Olympic gold medal at London 2012, and also became the IBF heavyweight champion in kind circumstances.
However his defeat of Klitschko, which also earned him the WBA title, came after he had had to prove his heart by recovering from an exceptionally-heavy sixth-round knockdown.
Joshua long appeared on the verge of defeat, and was struggling to dominate his experienced opponent, before transforming the fight and his career with that outstanding uppercut in the 11th round.
Concerns surrounding Joshua’s potential largely surrounded whether he had the stamina to last into the so-called championship rounds.
He had never previously fought beyond the seventh, but against Klitschko – a seasoned 12-round fighter – after having been knocked down, he gradually recovered to increase his intensity in the final rounds, leading to the impressive stoppage.
He may not be the fighter he was at his exceptional peak, and he will decline further as a consequence of such a bruising fight, but – beyond Joshua and Tyson Fury – it would be difficult to argue against him beating any of the world’s other leading heavyweights.
From the point of his recovery from the first knockdown to the 11th-round stoppage, he used his experience, intelligence and a wide variety of skills to outbox the champion. Joshua deserves significant credit for this victory.
Throughout their dominance of the division from the point of Lennox Lewis’ retirement, the Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali were long considered responsible for how dull heavyweight boxing became.
They won almost every fight they were involved in with such ease, and so little drama, that many of their match-ups were widely overlooked.
It is far from their problem that so few challenged them, but there have also been false dawns, such as the revival briefly threatened by David Haye.
With an exciting fighter like Joshua now the leading champion, and rivals like Deontay Wilder and Fury capable of excelling, the division has its most appeal since Lewis’ peak.
Composure is perhaps the most underrated asset any fighter can have, and Joshua demonstrated it in abundance.
Carl Froch recently spoke of how on the long ringwalk at Wembley it is easy for a fighter to struggle mentally.
Joshua remained a relaxed figure throughout his, did not panic when he was knocked down, and resisted the urge to go toe-to-toe – buying himself time to recover and slowing the action down – until sensing the right moment to pursue the knockout. Such clear thinking will serve him well.
Provided by Press Association Sport
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