5 things we learned as Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko

The Brit stopped King Wlad in the eleventh, but what can we take away from the epic bout?

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The Independent Online

It was a fight for the ages, a rare bout that lived up to the hype, exceeded it and then some.

Both fighters were downed, both spent seconds dazed and dawdling yet both dished out punishment beyond compare, two of the strongest heavyweights trading blows with extraordinary speed and precision.

But only one could win, and Anthony Joshua's eleventh-round uppercut, the right-hand closing bell, brought a roaring Wembley to its feet. 

Tyson Fury might well be next, but his name shouldn't even cross people's lips yet. 

For now the focus should be on the two boxers that combined to bring us a brilliant fight, and Anthony Joshua, who won with such grit and style. 

But what did we learn? Here are five things...

1. JOSHUA IS THE REAL DEAL

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Anthony Joshua passed the toughest test of his career to date with a stunning late knockout (Getty)

He was perhaps fortunate to win his Olympic gold medal at London 2012, and also became the IBF heavyweight champion in kind circumstances. However his defeat of Klitschko, which also earned him the WBA title, came after he had had to prove his heart by recovering from an exceptionally-heavy sixth-round knockdown. Joshua long appeared on the verge of defeat, and was struggling to dominate his experienced opponent, before transforming the fight and his career with that outstanding uppercut in the 11th round.

2. JOSHUA HAS STAMINA

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Joshua sent Klitschko down in the fifth (Getty)

Concerns surrounding Joshua's potential largely surrounded whether he had the stamina to last into the so-called championship rounds.

He had never previously fought beyond the seventh, but against Klitschko - a seasoned 12-round fighter - after having been knocked down, he gradually recovered to increase his intensity in the final rounds, leading to the impressive stoppage.

3. KLITSCHKO IS FAR FROM FINISHED

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Klitschko downed Joshua early in the fight (Getty)

He may not be the fighter he was at his exceptional peak, and he will decline further as a consequence of such a bruising fight, but - beyond Joshua and Tyson Fury - it would be difficult to argue against him beating any of the world's other leading heavyweights.

From the point of his recovery from the first knockdown to the 11th-round stoppage, he used his experience, intelligence and a wide variety of skills to outbox the champion. Joshua deserves significant credit for this victory.

4. HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING CAN AGAIN THRIVE

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Joshua intends to defend his IBF title against the former champion (Getty)

Throughout their dominance of the division from the point of Lennox Lewis' retirement, the Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali were long considered responsible for how dull heavyweight boxing became.

They won almost every fight they were involved in with such ease, and so little drama, that many of their match-ups were widely overlooked.

It is far from their problem that so few challenged them, but there have also been false dawns, such as the revival briefly threatened by David Haye.

With an exciting fighter like Joshua now the leading champion, and rivals like Deontay Wilder and Fury capable of excelling, the division has its most appeal since Lewis' peak.

5. JOSHUA HAS COMPOSURE

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It will prove to be a defining night of Joshua's career

Composure is perhaps the most underrated asset any fighter can have, and Joshua demonstrated it in abundance. Carl Froch recently spoke of how on the long ringwalk at Wembley it is easy for a fighter to struggle mentally. Joshua remained a relaxed figure throughout his, did not panic when he was knocked down, and resisted the urge to go toe-to-toe - buying himself time to recover and slowing the action down - until sensing the right moment to pursue the knockout. Such clear thinking will serve him well.

PA

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