Joshua, with heavy­weight ti­tle, may make box­ing must-see TV

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

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.

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