Playing out into the night like a chess match in boxing – strategy, blood sweat and tears, something from deep within both fighters ignited and the battle commenced.
Like a bull to the ground, in the sixth round AJ succumbed to a nasty and highly experienced long right hand – leaving his body numb and a nerve-wracking eight count – after Joshua himself had floored Vladamir in the fifth.
It was hard to watch – his 27 years seeming too eager to prove his position. But, some sound counsel from cornerman, coach Rob McCracken saw him soak up the confusion like a sponge. His heart and soul kept him in the frame and the Londoner persevered.
Magically, as though paying homage to the great Ali, Joshua seemed to adopt an almost rope-a-dope style, allowing Klitschko to appear stronger, quicker – perhaps even displaying a now mis-guided confidence. This certainly began to tire him across the 9th and 10th round and once again ignited the 90,000 strong Wembley crowd.
Joshua’s earlier rounds as though with a microscope highlighting just how raw he was compared to the 29 world-title fights of his opponent cast a shadow as to what the outcome would be. On social media many thought that after the sixth round that could be it for AJ.
But from somewhere which only the strongest and most fearless of fighters can, erupted a second life in Joshua. He pounced, bolting up like the first bell had just rang again, and as if from nowhere he came with full force with two stunning blows. This was no flash knockdown, a vicious uppercut followed soon after by a lethal left hook.
After three knock downs this was it for the great Klitschko. A true fighter, and one of the greatest with a record spanning more a decade and a half holding top titles in the weight, now a new victor can look on to his future, and perhaps carve out a career remembered as one of the all time greatest, an accolade AJ so fervidly seems to crave.
And for the man who has just won the fight of his life? What more could he wish for than a personalised, bespoke tailored Special Vehicle from Jaguar Landrover: