The enthralling knockout by Anthony Joshua was just wonderful, a post-war record 90,000 fans at the national stadium were treated to a see-saw contest. Klitschko, in his 29th world title fight, seemed to be taking the advantage in the later rounds until the vicious uppercut sent him spinning across the ring.
The veteran had even looked the more likely victor as he defied a 14-year age gap and was outboxing Joshua in the latter stages until the Briton produced a blistering finish to take his unbeaten record to 19 straight stoppage wins.
Joshua is just 27, and only 19 fights into his professional career.
"I'm not going to say too much in case he wants to come back and fight me again, but in terms of the boxing Hall of Fame and the boxing arena, he's a role model in and out of the ring".
One thing is certain: Joshua has breathed new life into boxing's blue riband division, which for over a decade was characterized by Klitschko's one-sided and often uninspiring victories over a succession of mediocre opponents.
Klitschko does have a rematch clause to face Joshua for a second time but whether he exercises the option, opts to retire from boxing or seeks another challenge remains to be seen. On the line is Joshua's IBF title, as well as the vacant WBA and IBO belts.
Klitschko, who suffered his first stoppage defeat since Lamon Brewster beat him in 2004, was full of respect for his conqueror. I was planning to do it - it didn't work - but all the respect to Anthony, congratulations. Klitschko put up a good fight and he could have won if not for the 11th round KO.
The bell for the 11th saw Joshua rejuvenated, a attractive uppercut teeing up the first knockdown, then a left hook sending Klitschko down again - only for the Ukrainian to show huge heart to drag himself off the canvas.
At the time the fight ended, Joshua was ahead on two cards (96-93 and 95-93), and Klitschko led 95-93 on the other.
"At the end of the day, I figured out what I had to do and got him done". As I said, I'm not flawless but I'm trying and if you don't take part you're going to fail.
Klitschko fell to 64-5 in a long career that began in 1996 after he won the Olympic gold in Atlanta.
"He'd looked like he'd nearly run out of ideas and he was done and just somehow found something from within to come back and knock out Wladimir Klitschko".
"It was really sad I didn't make it tonight", Klitschko said.
Joshua landed the better shots in round one.