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01st May 2017

Wladimir Klitschko explains why he didn’t go in for the kill after dropping Anthony Joshua

Regrets it now

Darragh Murphy

As the clock ticked into the second minute of the sixth round, Wembley fell silent.

A right hand split Anthony Joshua’s guard and the Brit’s legs abandoned him.

All 250lbs of Joshua hit the deck as Wladimir Klitschko stormed forward and the tide looked to have turned in the Ukrainian’s favour.

“I wasn’t sure whether he’d get up,” promoter Eddie Hearn told IFL TV of that knockdown.

When Joshua did return to his feet, he was clearly unsteady and many expected Klitschko to seize the opportunity and pour on the damage to a hurt opponent.

But if he did smell blood in the water, he failed to pounce as the 41-year-old allowed Joshua to shake the cobwebs loose.

‘AJ’ regained his composure while Klitschko continued to box conservatively and work behind his jab rather than take any risks.

It cost him dearly as Joshua’s second wind resulted in him finishing Klitschko in the 11th round and left the Ukrainian ruing his lack of aggression.

“I thought he wasn’t going to get up, that he wouldn’t get up,” Klitschko explained in the post-fight press conference. “He managed to get up. Respect!

“From that moment, I kind of felt he was out of gas and concentration. He recovered though through the rounds.

“I think I could have done more to finish him off maybe right after he went down but I was pretty sure that it was going to be my night, so I took my time.”

Having seen almost everything in a 21-year professional career, one might have expected Klitschko’s ability to sense a finish to be stronger but throwing wildly against a man as powerful as Joshua is also not advised.

Klitschko felt that he would be able to outbox the injured 27-year-old in the latter half of the contest but, unfortunately for him, he was wrong.

He was caught and the rest, as they say, is history.

“It was a good fight. I wish I had been the winner of tonight’s contest,” Klitschko continued. “‘AJ’ did a good job. He was trying, he was focused and even when he went down, he got up and came back.

“Maybe I could have done more after he was knocked down.”