Three years ago might as well feel like thirty years ago at this point, but indeed today (April 29th) is the anniversary of an unforgettable heavyweight boxing thriller.
When Wladimir Klitschko took on Anthony Joshua at London’s Wembley Stadium, he had already lost his titles to Tyson Fury two years prior. Fury’s well-documented substance abuse problems and PED failure led to him losing his belts, and Joshua was able to capitalize by winning the IBF title from Charles Martin in 2016.
The vacant WBA belt was at stake when Joshua and Klitschko fought in front of 90,000+ fans, so the winner would be a unified champion.
Joshua drew first blood with a fifth-round knockdown, but gassed himself out and found himself badly hurt and tiring within that same frame. In round six, Klitschko decked Joshua and sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Joshua found a second wind in the 11th, walloping Wladimir with one of the most vicious uppercuts you’ll ever see. Somehow, Wlad stayed up to that punch, but would be felled seconds later. The Brit sealed the deal in front of his home fans, setting iconic scenes of celebration.
Watch the highlights at the top of the page.
As you know, Wladimir retired after this fight and despite rumors of a comeback he has stayed retired. Oddly enough, he may have gained more fans in a losing effort than he did in many of his wins.
While Fury dethroned Klitschko on Wladimir’s adopted home turf, it was widely regarded as a fight that as not an easy watch. For my money, Joshua vs. Klitschko was the launch point for the reinvigorated interest in boxing’s heavyweight division. However, as time has passed, Joshua is now clearly behind Tyson Fury both in popularity and overall pecking order in the division. Joshua has three of the four major belts after winning them back from Andy Ruiz Jr, but losing them in the first place combined with Fury’s TKO of Deontay Wilder has made Tyson the consensus #1 in boxing.