In a rematch against Anthony Joshua on Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Oleksandr Usyk retained his three heavyweight belts with a split-decision victory.
Joshua won the fight with a score of 115-113 according to one judge, however Usyk, who defeated Joshua twice, won by scores of 115-113 and 116-112.
Joshua performed far better in the rematch under the direction of new trainer Robert Garcia, but it wasn’t enough to win. The two fighters first faced off in September in London, with Joshua entering the ring as the champion.
Joshua (24-3, 20 KOs) took the podium after the result was announced and yelled, “Hip-Hip Hooray!” to the audience in support of Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs).
Joshua declared, “This boy here is a wonderful talent.
Usyk, 35, retained his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles with a second victory against Joshua and is now vying with Tyson Fury, who wears the WBC strap, for the title of undisputed heavyweight.
Usyk, who is ranked No. 2 in the heavyweight division and No. 6 overall on ESPN, expressed his confidence that Tyson Fury has not yet retired. “Absolutely, I say. He wants to fight me, I’m sure of it. I desire to challenge him. In addition, if Tyson Fury is not my opponent, I will not fight at all.”
One of the biggest fights in boxing history is the one between Usyk and Fury, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to take place in December. After defeating Dillian Whyte in April, Fury declared he was done fighting, only to reveal earlier this month that he would be making a comeback. Fury switched course and stated once more that he was retiring when negotiations with Derek Chisora came to a standstill.
After Usyk won on Saturday, Fury declared in a video broadcast to Instagram, “I will smash both of them on the same night.” “The Gypsy King” will be in place always, so get your f—-ing chequebook out!”
|— Courtesy of CompuBox|
The money split should be 50/50, according to Fury’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who spoke with ESPN’s Mark Kriegel in San Diego.
Will not be a difficult battle to make, Arum remarked. “I called [Usyk’s manager] Egis [Klimas] to offer my congratulations. It ought to be possible for us to assemble it. Where to place it is the only issue.”
Usyk was training for the rematch with Joshua in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after fleeing the war-torn Ukraine with his wife and three children, while Fury dallied on his future. Usyk first enlisted in a battalion for territorial defence when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Usyk made sure the Joshua bout was broadcast on free-to-air TV back home and stated in the run-up to the fight that he was “inspired by the people of Ukraine who are working hard to protect our freedom.”
The former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk expressed his gratitude to everyone who prayed for him. “I dedicate my victory to my country, my family, my team, and all military personnel protecting the nation,” the winner said.
Usyk faced maybe the most challenging situation of his professional career during the bout on Saturday. In Round 9, Joshua finally made a move and injured Usyk with a barrage of shots after focusing on the body assault throughout the whole battle.
As Joshua pushed him about the ring and landed blows to the head and abdomen, the champion was wobbly on his feet. In the ninth, Joshua unleashed 67 blows and connected on 28, which was a fight-high.
Before he could fully capitalise, Usyk changed the situation and gave the opponent his best round of the fight. Joshua was now in shock as Usyk threw strong punches from all directions. Usyk was briefly stopped by a quick Joshua counter right hand, but he quickly resumed his attack.
Usyk landed 39 of 95 punches in Round 10, which were both fight highs.
Usyk, who like Joshua won gold at the 2012 Olympics, declared that “this is already history.” “Many generations [are] going to see this battle, especially the round where somebody really tried to beat me,”
Usyk finished strong with a commanding 11th round in which his mobility confused the larger Joshua and a fierce Round 12 in which Joshua went all-out to try and get the knockout.
In Round 10, both players score high.
Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Matchroom Boxing, praised Usyk’s performance. “I approached during the ninth round and believed we had won. One of the finest rounds I’ve ever seen to turn a bout around was the tenth. His performance in the tenth, eleventh, and twelve was astounding. That made all the difference tonight. He is simply too good, and Joshua need not feel guilty about it.”
Joshua, a 32-year-old heavyweight fighter from England, was aiming to win the title three times. He was also aiming to win back his three titles in a rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua lost the unified championship to Andy Ruiz Jr. via TKO in June 2019 — ESPN’s Upset of the Year — but won it back with a decision in the rematch six months later. However, Joshua was unable to extract revenge on Usyk this time.
However, Joshua, who seemed to be about to be stopped in Round 12 of their previous encounter, fought far better and will undoubtedly advance to more high-profile fights, whether or not he wins a title. He is the No. 4 heavyweight according to ESPN.
No opponent, whether at heavyweight or cruiserweight, has been able to crack the riddle Usyk has put up. Usyk won the fight thanks to his superior footwork, southpaw jab, and boxing knowledge despite losing weight to Joshua by 24 pounds and becoming three inches taller.
Usyk has thus far shown to be unbeatable in the ring, but “The Gypsy King” stands to be favoured to defeat him in a match for all the marbles.No opponent, whether at heavyweight or cruiserweight, has been able to crack the riddle Usyk has put up. Usyk won the fight thanks to his superior footwork, southpaw jab, and boxing knowledge despite losing weight to Joshua by 24 pounds and becoming three inches taller.
Usyk has thus far shown to be unbeatable in the ring, but “The Gypsy King” stands to be favoured to defeat him in a match for all the marbles.