The right fight in the right place at the right time. With the right face of a new era ready to take his throne. 

In what feels like a perfect storm of sorts, Anthony Joshua's thrilling knockout of Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday in their title unification fight -- in front of 90,000 at London's Wembley Stadium -- just might be what the heavyweight division has desperately needed for years. 

Both fighters were knocked down and both kept coming in a slugfest that didn't take long to remind why boxing is so dependent upon the health of its marquee division to retain relevancy and interest, particularly in the United States. 

Saturday's showdown did what every boxing match of its size has seemingly failed to do in recent years after a long build-up of hype.

It delivered.

In fact, it exceeded expectations. 

This was heavyweight boxing of old, the way it used to sound, look and feel. Even better, each boxer was elevated by the other's performance. 

A breakthrough star appeared to be born in Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), the 27-year-old who we knew had the looks and power to take over the division but weren't sure had the mettle and heart. We know now. 

Meanwhile, Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) erased the memories of a lifeless defeat 17 months ago to Tyson Fury. After the 41-year-old reigned in division's weakest era from 2005-15, this was the kind of gutsy performance that did more for his legacy than many of his 18 consecutive title defenses. 

But the biggest winner on Saturday was boxing as a whole.

This wasn't merely a surprisingly great heavyweight fight that can be cast off as a one-off. Instead, Joshua's knockout of Klitschko might be the perfect tipping point for the division's comeback. There are now more reasons to be excited about heavyweight boxing than there have been since the last great era in the 1990s. 

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If we consider Joshua-Klitschko a test case for what the division could be moving forward, boxing fans couldn't have asked for a better way in which it played out. It's an ending far more valuable than had Joshua sent Klitschko to retirement by dominating him by early knockout.

A competitive fight in which both combatants showed power, skill and courage was a better way to build a connection to an audience in hopes it might want to return. That's because by getting up off the canvas, Joshua's victory humanized him in a way that Klitschko -- or Floyd Mayweather at welterweight, for that matter -- was unable to do while dominating the division for many years. 

It also opened the door for a rematch thanks to both fighters having signed a two-fight deal ahead of time. After the loss, Klitschko sounded intent on getting a second chance. 

But the most exciting development is what comes after that. While Klitschko was never able to establish a true rival able to push him and create the need for high-demand rematches and trilogies, Joshua has a strong group of unbeaten yet unproven sluggers impatiently waiting in line. 

There's WBC titlist and American slugger Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), WBO belthoder Joseph Parker (22-0, 18 KOs) of New Zealand and the dangerous Cuban, Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs). That's not to mention the 6-foot-9 Fury, who recently returned to the gym in hopes of a comeback, and fellow trash-talking British veterans David Haye and Tony Bellew. 

Joshua said he wants to fight them all and recently stated his goal of conquering America and becoming a worldwide star. It's hard not to be excited about what his journey attempting to get there might do for the division and sport as a whole. 

It has been a long-time coming, but heavyweight boxing is alive and it is well.