WHEN Anthony Joshua‘s 6’ 6”, 250lb frame folded to the canvas off a monstrous right hand in the sixth round of his Wembley Stadium clash with Wladimir Klitschko, a wave of disbelief crashed over all those watching.
Joshua – the pre-fight favourite – had dropped Klitschko in the previous round, only to then immediately run out of steam.
Sat ringside, his promoter Eddie Hearn could not take his eyes off the action despite ‘AJ’ facing the biggest crisis of his career to date.
“I felt numb. The fifth round was more of a concern than the sixth, because he knocked Klitschko down and then went mental,” he told Boxing News.
“I saw his face and I was screaming at him to relax and calm down but he didn’t, he came out in the next 30 seconds and tried to take his head off and then he got hit by a huge shot and he ran out of juice and his legs just emptied. He did really well to survive that round and he went back to the corner, and that was when I was most worried.”
In the sixth, Klitschko unleashed a destructive right hand, flooring Joshua for the first time in his professional career. He was not in a good way, but he weathered the storm before regathering his energy by boxing conservatively.
Then, in the 11th, an uppercut straight from hell spelled the beginning of the end for Klitschko, who was dropped twice more and stopped on his feet.
“He [Joshua] came out, got hit by a huge right hand, cleverly took a knee, got up at eight but boxed smart, he took some shots but didn’t seem as empty as the fifth,” Hearn recalled.
“Then in the seventh and eighth he boxed smart. People say Klitschko should’ve gone for it but Josh boxed smart, got behind his jab, holding. From the ninth, I really thought he’d stop him. It was just amazing what happened.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. There are two priorities; one is to get the win, the other is to give value for money. I think both boxes were ticked there.”