The future of heavyweight boxing appears to belong to Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs).
The 27-year-old ascendant superstar answered plenty of tough questions from Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night at Wembley Stadium, earning a technical knockout victory in the 11th round to win the IBO, IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles.
The brilliant, operatic bout saw four knockdowns—three suffered by Klitschko and one by Joshua.
Joshua got to Klitschko first, knocking him down in the fifth round, but Klitschko came back and sent Joshua to the canvas for the first time in his career in the sixth. In the end, Joshua's lethal power won out, as he crushed Klitschko in the 11th with two knockdowns and a barrage on the ropes that forced the referee to call the bout.
Basking in his post-victory glory in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley, Joshua made sure to praise Klitschko, calling him a "role model," per the Showtime broadcast.
Klitschko looked nothing like the version of himself that lost to Tyson Fury in a listless, dreary bout in November 2015. At 41 years old, he still looked a picturesque form of the human body, but it wasn't enough for him to survive a full 12 rounds with a budding phenomenon in Joshua.
Joshua looked tentative to begin the bout—a cautious mode rarely seen to this point in his career—but with good reason. Klitschko reigned over the heavyweight division for more than a decade behind a phenomenal jab, and Joshua knew he wasn't going to rip through his tactically sound opponent like he had in so many of his previous bouts.
The explosion of violence left Klitschko with a cut over his left eye but also saw Joshua looking rather spent, and the Ukranian came back in unbelievable fashion, pummeling Joshua in a way the 27-year-old had yet to experience as a pro.
The latter half of the fight shaped up as a test of stamina, endurance and tactics. Klitschko, despite being 14 years Joshua's senior, looked better prepared to control the late rounds. The clinching from Klitschko made only a few brief appearances, and Joshua used that to his advantage, working the body in spurts.
It was a fight that will not soon be forgotten by those fortunate enough to witness it in person or on broadcast.
A rematch could be in the works and would likely make for another entertaining night of boxing, but the way Joshua ended the bout might have fans ready for him to move on and take on Fury, or any other challenger brave enough to step between the ropes with him.