Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Joshua-Klitschko: A heavyweight high, two days later

Photo / @MatchroomBoxing

Michael Buffer managed to resonate his platinum tone throughout Wembley Stadium abuzz in a manner that a thrilling prizefight can deliver, overwhelm the fever of decibels from patrons honoring Anthony Joshua with top volume praise…”Now the unified champion, still the reigning and defending IBF heavyweight champion of the world, the fighting pride of ALL ENGLAND, ‘AJ,’ Anthonnnnyyyyyyyy Joshua.”

The emcee elongated the syllables of the victor’s name as befitting the immensity of the triumph and all diehard boxing fans – we so used to defending the health and wellness of the sport, constantly in explaining, clarifying and diagnosing mode, speaking to the niche-ifcation of the Sweet Science, summing up its slide, comparing it to its better-loved and rapidly ascending big brother MMA (Whew!), felt a surge of contentedness.

The sport now had what it needs to be a more relevant player in the world of sport as a whole. It had – it HAS – a heavyweight champion who can plausibly be termed “The Baddest man on the Planet,” with video backup at the ready to substantiate the moniker.

That hellacious uppercut is Exhibit A in the court room of public opinion. A right hand from down under very nearly separated Klitschko’s head from its neck. He was 6-foot-6 entering Wembley, and had to be 6-foot-8 afterward, which also proved the worth of the 41-year-old, whose fan base actually grew with the loss, because he campaigned with vigor and honor and guts galore. He wasn’t “Klinchko” on this night; he was forced to fight and he did so, with the result doing nothing to smear his legacy.

The end came in round 11 and, yes, that contributed to the buoyant appraisal offered here and there and everywhere I looked, and heard, to the 27-year-old. The statistical probability of ending a heavyweight title fight in round 11, a round better suited to the marshaling of remaining cells containing morsels of oxygen, rather than the frenetic expulsion of energy in an attempt to finish a stubborn foe, that can’t be dismissed. And how Joshua did so, knocking Klitschko down twice, then refusing to not see the job through, aids in the enormity of the Joshua victory. The images speak so loudly, deliver a summation of the win and the measure of the man, so much better than text from a wordsmith can. Ten thousand words of high-grade word-working, that’s what the Joshua KO climax delivered.

Most of us watched the pulse-pounder live, on Showtime, and many watched again a few hours later, on HBO. Team HBO, including Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr., rendered their own unanimous decision – that this clash met expectations. “What’s beyond epic is heavyweight boxing,” Jones summed up as Wembley emptied; the punters poured into pubs and toasted their addition to the royal fistic kingdom. Kellerman enthused about “90 thousand people in a stadium to watch the heavyweight championship of the world contested between two 250-or-so-pound heavyweights, each with Olympic gold medals, in an epic, where they each have to climb off the deck…in a way that made you think, ‘This fight’s done.’” Kellerman repeated the word “epic” and his high wasn’t to be dimmed. He’d absorbed a potent euphoriant with staying power. “Final word, the king is dead; long live the king,” said Lampley, in closing.

We close still on a high, two days later, exultant after sampling the euphoriant the likes of which the sport hasn’t tasted in too long. The sport survives, thrives, maybe even…long live the Sweet Science.





Just think…611 words of high-grade word-working, that’s what this Michael Woods article delivered. That right there is euphoriant delivering a high equal to holding one’s breath, then spinning around really fast.





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