Just wow … that was special. Anthony Joshua’s 11 round rollercoaster brawl, with the immensely experienced Vladamir Klitschko, was one of those very rare moments where the occasion matched the hype. I feared that this might not be the case as early as AJ’s over the top entrance, which included totally unnecessary pyrotechnics and a giant flaming AJ logo to top off all the silliness. This was now AJ the brand, too confident, too brash, Eddie Hearn’s trained puppet – had this all gone to his head? I and my equally sceptical friends wondered.
If anyone thought this would be a quick knockout, akin to some of the other ‘bums’ that AJ had destroyed, would sorely mistaken . The first few rounds showed that Dr Steelhammer was an entirely different proposition to any of the previous 18 opponents that Joshua faced. Then in round five, Vlad was dazed and then unexpectedly knocked down. But enormous credit should go to Vlad, who not only got up but managed to seriously hurt AJ with a powerful right hand. The next round was even more astonishing for the first time in his career the man mountain of Joshua was knocked down by a powerful hook by the Ukrainian.
Too much experience, too much know-how. How could AJ recover against someone who had been dominating heavyweight boxing for the last decade? Instead of going for the kill and exerting himself Joshua waited and composed himself. Vladamir may have won the next couple of rounds but Joshua was conserving his energy and the Ukrainian was going to be introduced to ‘father time’ before long. Alas this proved to be the case in round 11
The power and youth took over as Vladamir got knocked down twice before AJ finally put down his opponent down for good.
What heart though, to stay in it against a man who is destined to dominate heavyweight boxing for the foreseeable future was more than what could be expected of a 41-year-old. But, this is not a sport for sentiment. The torch has been passed – the king is dead, long live the king. Joshua is the most sought after commodity in heavyweight boxing. The question is who has the ‘cajones’ to step into the ring with him. I personally hope its Tyson Fury – the enigmatic nature of the ‘gypsy king’ would provide huge entertainment and would be a welcome change from the boring mutual respect that existed between Joshua and Klitschko. Come on Mr Hearn make it happen.
*Image credit, wearecreo.co.uk