Joshua's powerful right uppercuts featured in all three of the knockdowns but the fight was close at the time of the stoppage: one judge had it 95-93 to Klitschko, while the other two scored it 96-93, 95-93 for Joshua.
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 boring heavyweight boxing became.
Since then, Joshua, WBC champion Deontay Wilder, and WBO champion Joshua Parker have all attempted to make their case as the best Heavyweight in the world.
The incomparable Sugar Ray Leonard, a former world champion in five separate weight divisions, said it was an "amazing fight by two great fighters" with "a lot of questions answered by Joshua".
Tyson Fury responded to Anthony Joshua calling him out immediately after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko by saying "challenge accepted".
The heavyweight has also said he would fight Klitschko again - another clash which would draw huge attention. His longest fight before the Klitschko KO win was against Dominic Breazeale and Dillian Whyte which lasted seven rounds. "We don't duck anyone".
He was all over the Ukrainian and dropped him with a left hook, but Klitschko got up only to take even more punishment.
"I'm going back to my council flat with my family to eat some good food".
Few fighters get back up when in the ring with Joshua, but Klitschko not only got back to his feet, but managed to take control of the bout and put Joshua on the canvas in the sixth round.
"It's boxing. I'm only going to improve", Joshua told Sky Sports. When you go into the trenches that's when you find out who you really are.
The Englishman also had nothing but respect for Klitschko, who he said is a role model for the sport. As I said, I'm not I'm not ideal but I'm trying'. In this small little ring, there's nowhere to hide and as I said from the get go, it will be a boxing classic and the best man will win.
Which matchup would you like to see next?
"To be exposed in front of 90,000 people with your lack of experience is brutal but to come through the other side is just one of the most remarkable performances I've ever seen".
For Klitschko - who perhaps with an extra few punches might have finished Joshua - it could spell retirement, especially after his previous defeat more than a year ago by Britain's Tyson Fury.
On that, all at Wembley would agree.