Opinion: Joshua-Klitschko was the fight boxing needed

The heavyweight slugfest proved the sport is far from dying

Opinion: Joshua-Klitschko was the fight boxing needed

Anthony Joshua celebrates. Picture by: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

The epic heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium showed boxing can still exhilarate the soul and proved the sport is far from dying.

Boxing's obituary has been written a few times over the years. The early 1900s often saw crowds of over 80,000 pack into stadia across America before TV coverage became more prominent as the century progressed.

The sport adopted a pay-per-view model to boost income as Las Vegas became the home of international boxing. 

Anthony Joshua lands a punch on Wladimir Klitschko. Picture by: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

The rise of MMA and the shrewd business development of the UFC by casino magnates, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, has seen boxing's dominance of the fight industry challenged like never before.

The multiple sanctioning organisations within the sweet science led to diluted world title fights and multiple world champions in the same division - and sometimes within the same organisations.

The UFC's model guarantees that the top fighters face off regularly and only the truly special competitors stay at the top for a significant period.

To add to boxing's issues, the marque heavyweight division has been crying out for a charismatic fighter to lead the sport ever since the Tyson/Holyfield/Lewis era. 

Wladimir Klitschko lands a punch on Anthony Joshua. Picture by: Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images

The Klitschko brothers have dominated the heavyweight scene but their risk averse-style, lack of quality contenders and European base meant US audiences have never warmed to their careers and the big promotion from the American cable networks never materialised. 

Boxing's smaller fighters took over the mantle of carrying the sport into the mainstream with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather regularly breaking the one million PPV mark.

However, their much anticipated "Fight of the Century" which sold over 4.4 million PPV's in 2015 tanked as a spectacle and turned many casual fans off the sport.

That should change now. Joshua brought something out of Klitschko which hasn't been seen for years. A rematch down the line is a distinct possibility.

Unbeaten knock-out artist Deontay Wilder is also waiting in the wings as is former champion Tyson Fury. Tony Bellew's recent win over David Haye means he is also part of the conversation as is Joseph Parker.  

Joshua isn't perfect either. He was caught by the Ukranian and dropped before recovering to get the job done. 

He has an infectious personality and just might become the nicest holder of the "baddest man on the planet" title.