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Anthony Joshua on top of the world with thrilling recovery


By Declan Warrington

Anthony Joshua is willing to face Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight title rematch after the Ukrainian revealed it is the only bout that could tempt him to fight on.

Saturday's fight at Wembley Stadium, attended by a 90,000 strong post-war record British fight crowd, was by some distance the most dramatic of Klitschko's decorated career.

Victory established Joshua as the world's leading heavyweight, adding the WBA belt to his IBF title, and after he recovered from a heavy sixth round knockdown demonstrated his ability to fulfil the potential he has long had.

Joshua put Klitschko down in the fifth round before the first knockdown of his career began his own fight for survival. He rediscovered his confidence when fighting beyond the seventh - another first - before impressively turning the fight again in the 11th with a huge right uppercut.

Twice Klitschko returned to his feet after hitting the canvas in the 11th until, with him no longer able to defend himself from another hurtful Joshua barrage, American referee David Fields was forced to intervene.

The fifth defeat of the Ukrainian's career, and second in succession, could yet prove the last fight of a decorated career, but he will find Joshua a game opponent should he choose to fight on.

"I fought the better Wladimir Klitschko, not the complacent one, the guy who realised his mistakes and wanted to put it right," said Joshua (27).

"Maybe against anyone else in the division he may have come out on top. I have the ultimate respect for what he's achieved inside and outside of the ring. I wouldn't mind fighting him again; if he wants a rematch no problem.

"I'm happy, if anything, that it was a great fight, because there was a lot of hype, a lot of attention around the fight, and I'm glad it lived up to expectations.

"(I learnt) that I can knock out anyone. If I can keep on improving on the things I do well, I can definitely knock out any opponent.

"To get knocked down, hurt someone, get hurt, take someone out in the championship rounds where I've never been before: it's testament to what training's about."

The champion was then asked if victory, against one of the finest heavyweights in history and the 1996 Olympic champion, topped winning his gold medal at London 2012, and he responded: "No. It is what it is: there's one winner and one loser.

"The fighting is fun. I don't box just for the belt, for the money, and I just enjoy it, the discipline. How am I feeling at the minute? Like I did before I won this fight. I want to catch up with family and go back to normal living."

Klitschko (41) said he would take time to consider his future and exercising his rematch clause for a potential return, but that has no desire to fight on against any other opponent.

"I am not going to consider anything or be making any statements right now," he said. "It's too early; I actually feel pretty good, considering I lost. I will take my time. I have a rematch clause which I can execute, and right now will not be making any decisions.

"If I'm going to fight it'll be a rematch, of course."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph