Joshua, with heavyweight title, may make boxing must-see TV
Anthony Joshua remained in the ring long after 90,000 of his supporters had filed out of Wembley Stadium, posing happily for pictures with his team and hugging just about everyone he knew.
No reason to leave early when being the heavyweight champion is so much fun.
“I just want to fight everyone, man,” Joshua said. “I’m really loving this right now.”
There was a lot to love Saturday night in front of a packed crowd at England’s national stadium, where Joshua got off the canvas to stop longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko in a coming out party of sorts that electrified the boxing world.
The biggest heavyweight fight in British history was also the best. There was an epic fifth round where Joshua knocked Klitschko down and then held on himself to survive, along with a knockdown a round later by Klitschko.
And when Joshua had finished almost taking Klitschko’s head off in the 11th round, a heavyweight division moribund for years was suddenly very much alive once again.
Just five years removed from winning an Olympic gold medal in London, Joshua stopped a fighter who dominated the heavyweight division for nearly a decade. Though the win came with some anxious moments for the hometown fans, it also established Joshua as a superstar in the making who just might be the fighter who can make boxing must-see TV once again.
“Anthony was better today than I,” Klitschko said. “It’s really sad that I didn’t make it tonight. I was planning to do it. It didn’t work. But all the respect to Anthony, congratulations.”
A heavyweight title fight unlike any seen in the country that invented boxing didn’t just end with the hometown favourite’s hand aloft in victory. It ended in such spectacular fashion that Joshua can now write his own ticket in a heavyweight division long starved for star power.
That will at some point likely include a megafight with American Deontay Wilder, who owns a piece of the title and is a huge puncher himself. It could include a rematch with Klitschko, who had it written into his contract that he would have that right should he lose.