From the first bell, both fighters put on a classic bout and reminded both casual and diehard fans of the appeal that boxing's heavyweight division had been missing for over a decade.
As for the fight itself, It played out like a broadway play. The three acts of the fight built the perfect combat sports narrative.
Joshua came out strong and relentless against the veteran fighter. Klitschko looked every bit of 41-years-old in the early rounds and Joshua used the rust to land power punches at will. Wladimir's legs finally gave out in the 5th round and Joshua was able to put him on the canvas. Klitschko could've folded, but instead, he showed the heart of a champion and used the knockdown as motivation.
Klitschko rose from the canvas and took the fight to Anthony Joshua. AJ had used the majority of his stamina on his 5th round barrage and Klitschko took advantage of his fatigue immediately. It took only one round for Klitschko to complete reverse the momentum and drop Joshua to the canvas, the first time he's been knocked down in his early career.
Joshua returned to his feet and Klitschko continued to use his footwork, jab, and veteran savvy to out point the young boxer over the next few rounds. In fact, most had Klitschko tied or ahead as both fighters approached the end of the 10th round.
Towards the end of the 10th round, Anthony Joshua regained his legs and the boost of stamina once again exposed the shortcomings of Klitschko.
Joshua took the close round on most scorecards and was able to use that confidence to attack Klitschko in the 11th round. Joshua wasted no time jumping all over Klitschko in the 11th, opening up with a nicely timed 1-2 combination. At that point, it was easy to see that Joshua was refreshed and Klitschko was in trouble.
What ensued was a star-making sequence of punches and knockdowns by Joshua to Klitschko. Joshua dropped Klitschko twice and after pinning him to the ropes with a barrage of punches that forced the referee step in to rescue Klitschko.
A better story couldn't have been painted by these two fighters. Wladimir Klitschko went out on his shield and nearly upset the young star. Joshua built his fan base and has become one of the biggest stars in the sport, if not the biggest.
The future for both fighters are unknown, but there's no doubt that heavyweight boxing has finally returned to prominence. It's up to young fighters like Joshua to keep it relevant.