There was such a perfect silence in that round 11, the crowd breath could be heard until that pum! Sounded and the 90,000 souls shuddered at Wembley: the Ukrainian giant had fallen and, in spite of standing, it omen the end.
Joshua, impressive, ran for him, saw his prey was ready for the final stroke and got it seconds later thanks to a good combination that ended with a hook to the liver. However, Wladimir Klitschko was not giving in so easily, and got up for the second time in the round. But the table was set, “AJ” cornered him against the ropes, the Ukrainian could take no more, the public knew, as did the referee who soon stood between the two gladiators.
It was official, Wembley shivered, roared, got what they had come to see: Joshua defeat Klitschko by TKO. But most important, perhaps, although undetected for the noise: they had lived a memorable battle, worth of two heavyweights.
The cheering was forged long before the entrance of both fighters, as the fans jumped and chanted “Sweet Caroline”. Until they heard Michael Buffer’s voice present Wladimir Klitschko and “Can’t Stop” sounded throughout the stadium.
Every step of Klitschko was felt together with his legacy that he has written with his fists in 27 years of career, the same age of his opponent, living a perfect 9 year period as champion, being defeated only by the legendary Joe Louis.
Despite the boos, of the public showed their respect because they were there to fulfill an important role: letting “Dr. Steelhammer” know he was not at home.
After the protocol and before being announced, the people shouted “Oohh Anthony Joshua, Oooh Anthony Joshua!” to the son of Seven Nation Army. Once the official presentation was made the screens showed “AJ” and Wembley trembled for the first time, when his initials written in fire left the British idol ready to begin his pilgrimage to the ring.
The “Oohh Anthony Joshua!” cry could be heard at the Big Ben; there was the local idol, the one called to be new heavyweight king walking towards his first big challenge as professional, defeat Klitschko.
The opening bell rang and the fight began, in the distance the rope seemed to be reach the waist of the fighters, Joshua started to land his blows, aware of his anesthetist power, he wanted to hurt his opponent.
Both danced in the ring, from the grandstand seemed to explode right at every Joshua’s cross on Klitschko’s face, the fighters looked small and giant at the same time. Each blow quaked the stadium, it was only the second round.
Suddenly Wembley became like a church: everyone standing with the hand on the chin, there was no other option to see this battle, 90,000 souls standing waiting for the fall of the giant that as the fight progressed seemed closer.
And the long waited moment came in the fifth round, in the first seconds it seemed that Klitschko was going to the canvas but held, the applause and whistles were deafening. “Dr. Steelhammer” could not clinch to his opponent despite his desperate attempts, the fall was imminent and it happened: a left hook of “AJ” made his opponent’s legs bend.
There was Klitschko on his knees and with his hands in the canvas, the crowd wanted more but they did not count on the Ukrainian’s quick recovery, who transformed and unleashed a brutal offensive on his rival that made him move from euphoria to anguish.
Anxiety that was capitalized in the sixth round, when a spectacular right straight shook the face of Joshua and sent it to the canvas. Many people put their hands on their heads, others covered their faces and some cried out in despair.
Joshua waited for the 8 count and stood up, and tried to dance but Klitschko came over all over him. However, the Briton was not alone. “Oooh Anthony Joshua! Seemed to be heard louder than ever, even some people in the bleachers moved “avoiding the blows”, threw a jab and even shouted indications to his boxer.
It is impossible to determine if this was helpful, but as the round passed the local managed to recover. Round 7, 8, 9 and 10 ran at full power. No one could think on sitting, they were all standing. Meanwhile, in the ring, both fighters seemed to measure their actions, because they already knew the power of his opponent fists.
Until the eleventh chapter of this story came.
Anthony Joshua landed a straight right to Klitschko chin and he desperately sought to clinch, and Joshua, as well as fans, shook the opponent to continue the attack. Then he landed a spectacular upper and the Ukrainian seemed to turn around on his own axis.
Everyone knew that the fall was coming, as “Dr. Steelhammer” could not take it any longer and so it happened. There was the giant, again on his knees waiting for the 8 count to stand up.
“AJ” went over him, he did not want to leave this to the scorecards, he knew it was the right time. This time against the ropes and with a left hook came the second fall, but this time Klitschko fell back.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … there he was for the second time in the eleventh round. While his executioner waited in the neutral corner Klitschko refused to die. He saw the referee in the eyes and he allowed him to continue. But there was not much to do, Joshua came over, put him on the ropes again, Klitschko with the guard up tried to dodge the blows. But everything was ready, “AJ” cornered him against the ropes, and the Ukrainian could get it no more, the public knew, also the referee who soon stood between the two boxers.
It was official, Wembley shook, roared, they got what they had come to see: Joshua beat Klitschko by TKO.
Joshua, now Super Heavyweight Champion of the World Boxing Association, raised his opponent hands and the crowd surrendered at his feet. The 90,000 souls applauded both fighters.
The new champion for giving them a great victory and his opponent for his legacy, for selling his defeat very well and for not surrendering.
No doubt, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko had reminded everyone why the 200+ pounds division is the premier-class boxing category.