New world champion Usyk: 19th victory in 19th professional fight
Photo: Julian Finney / Getty Images
He had announced it and kept his word: Oleksandr Usyk is the new heavyweight boxing world champion according to the IBF, WBA and WBO versions.
The Ukrainian defeated Anthony Joshua unanimously on points in front of more than 60,000 spectators at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After twelve rounds, the three judges Viktor Fesechko (117: 112), Howard Foster (115: 113) and Steve Weisfeld (116: 112) scored the fight for Usyk.
The Ukrainian challenger showed himself to be very agile from the start, took many quick small steps and kept swinging his upper body in order to offer Joshua as little attack surface as possible. The Ukrainian didn’t hit much, but brought one or the other left straight to the finish. Joshua started very carefully, left the center of the ring to his challenger and hardly landed any clear hits in the first few laps.
The longer the fight lasted, the more confident Usyk became.
In the third round he came through with remarkable combinations that Joshua seemed to impress.
After the lap that followed, the Brit seemed to be looking up at the sky for help.
From the fifth round onwards Joshua found his way into the fight a little better, bringing his jab and right punching hand to the goal more often.
Usyk was initially unimpressed.
Usyk's amateur experience pays off
As a result, Joshua became bolder and looked specifically for gaps in his challenger's cover.
But he neglected his own defense and was punished for it by Usyk.
In the seventh round, the Ukrainian landed a left straight that clearly shook Joshua.
The Briton didn't risk too much after that.
Instead, a tactical battle developed in which Usyk benefited from his much greater experience.
The Ukrainian had fought 350 amateur fights before starting his professional career, of which he lost only 15.
Joshua landed several hits that opened cuts under Usyks right eye and on his forehead.
The minor injuries did not seem to affect the Ukrainian.
Joshua didn’t get away without wounds either, and the Brit’s right eye began to swell.
Shortly before the end of the twelfth round, Usyk was even close to a knockout success.
With a series of hard hits, he put Joshua in dire straits, but the gong saved the British from premature defeat.
The alleged dream fight between Joshua and WBC world champion Tyson Fury has burst due to the Ukrainian's victory. Actually, the two British should have met in August for a long-awaited unification of titles. Instead, Fury has to defend his world championship belt on October 9th in Las Vegas against ex-champion Deontay Wilder. Joshua is likely to aim for a direct rematch against Usyk. With both of them under contract with promoter Eddie Hearn, there shouldn't be much in the way of the rematch.
For the Ukrainian it was the 19th victory in the 19th professional fight.
From 2014 to 2018 he had already been world cruiserweight champion.
Now he has crowned his promotion to the premier class with a success over Joshua.
The Briton suffered his second defeat in his 26th professional fight.
In 2019, he surprisingly lost his world title to the American Andy Ruiz, but immediately regained it in the rematch.