In a rematch that took place on Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Oleksandr Usyk prevailed over Anthony Joshua through split decision to keep all three of the heavyweight belts he currently has.
Joshua was knocked out for the second time by Usyk, who won by scores of 115-113 and 116-112, respectively, despite the fact that one of the judges scored the fight in Joshua’s favour with a score of 115-113.
Joshua, who was the reigning champion when the fight between the two took place in September in London, performed far better in the rematch with the assistance of his new trainer Robert Garcia, but it was not enough to win the fight.
After the verdict was made public, Joshua (24-3, 20 KOs) grabbed the microphone and encouraged the audience to chant “Hip-Hip Hooray!” in support of Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), saying “Hip-Hip Hooray!”
Joshua said that the individual in question possessed an extraordinary amount of talent.
As a result of his second victory against Joshua, Usyk, 35, retained his WBA, WBO, and IBF belts. He is now headed for a showdown with Tyson Fury, who currently holds the WBC belt, in order to win the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Usyk, the No. 2 heavyweight and No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer on ESPN’s rankings, stated that he is confident that Tyson Fury has not yet retired. “I’m sure. I have no doubt that he intends to fight with me. I have the need to fight with him. And if I don’t face Tyson Fury, I haven’t earned the right to call myself a fighter.”
The fight between Usyk and Fury, which is being considered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for December, would be one of the most significant in all of boxing. Following his victory against Dillian Whyte in April, Fury stated that he would be retiring from the sport. However, earlier this month, Fury announced that he would be making a comeback. After failing to reach an agreement with Derek Chisora, Fury changed his stance and reiterated that he was through with the sport of boxing.
After Usyk’s victory on Saturday, Fury stated in a video that he would “annihilate both of them on the same night” in the caption of the picture that he made on Instagram. “Get your f—-ing chequebook out because ‘The Gypsy King’ is going to be around for a very long time!”
In San Diego, Fury’s promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, expressed his opinion to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel that the money should be split evenly between the two fighters.
Arum stated that the upcoming bout “Won’t be a hard fight to make.” “I sent my congratulations to [Usyk’s manager] Egis [Klimas] over the phone. It ought to be possible for us to put it together. The only question that remains is at which location to put it.”
After fleeing the conflict in Ukraine with his wife and three children, Usyk was getting ready for the rematch with Joshua in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, while Fury was still undecided about his plans for the future. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Usyk first enlisted in a territory defence battalion to fight against the Russians.
During the buildup to the fight, Usyk stated that the “people of Ukraine who are working hard to maintain our independence” inspired him, and he made sure that the Joshua fight was broadcast on free-to-air television in Ukraine.
Usyk, who had previously held the title of undisputed cruiserweight champion, stated, “I want to thank everyone who prayed for me.” “I dedicate this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, and to all members of the armed forces who are protecting our nation,” he said. “Thank you.”
In the bout that took place on Saturday, Usyk was put through what was likely the most difficult situation he has faced in his professional career. Joshua finally made his breakthrough in Round 9, when he injured Usyk with a barrage of strikes after focusing his whole fight on attacking the body of his opponent.
Joshua bullied the champion around the ring and fired punches to the champion’s head and midsection, which caused the champion’s legs to become wobbly. Joshua connected with 28 of his 67 punches thrown in the ninth round, doubling his previous best for the fight.
But before he could really capitalise on the opportunity, Usyk flipped the script and reacted with the greatest round he had in the fight. Joshua was the one who started to lose his composure as Usyk rained down powerful punches from all directions. Joshua countered Usyk’s right hand with a stinging right hand of his own, which temporarily halted Usyk, but Usyk quickly came back with more of the same.
In total, Usyk connected on 39 of 95 punches thrown in the tenth round, both of which were fight highs.
“This is now history,” said Usyk, who, like Joshua, won gold at the 2012 Olympics. “This match is already over.” “This battle is going to be viewed by many generations, particularly the round in which someone tried very hard to beat me,” the fighter said.
Usyk finished the fight strongly with a dominant 11th round, during which Joshua was confused by his mobility, and a vicious 12th round, during which Joshua went all out in an attempt to score the knockout. Usyk won the fight via unanimous decision.
Eddie Hearn, the promoter for Matchroom Boxing, remarked after Usyk’s performance, “What a performance from Usyk.” “I ran over during the ninth round, and my initial thought was that we had won. When it comes to turning the tide of a fight, the tenth round was one of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s astounding to think about what he accomplished in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. And that was the key factor that determined the winner tonight… He is simply too excellent, and there is no reason for Joshua to feel embarrassed about it.”
Joshua, who was 32 years old and from England, was competing in an effort to win the heavyweight title a record-tying three times. In a rematch that was being held in Saudi Arabia for the second time, he wanted to win all three of the titles he had previously won there.
Joshua won the unified championship with a decision in the rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. six months after losing the unification bout via technical knockout to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, which was named ESPN’s Upset of the Year. But Joshua was unable to get his revenge as they fought each other again, this time against Usyk.
In spite of this, Joshua turned in a much stronger performance than in their previous bout, in which he was on the verge of getting knocked out in Round 12; he will undoubtedly move on to plenty of marquee contests in the future, with or without a belt. He holds the fourth spot in ESPN’s heavyweight rankings.
In the meanwhile, Usyk has presented a conundrum that neither his cruiserweight nor his heavyweight opponents have come close to answering. Even though Usyk gave up 24 pounds in weight to Joshua and another three inches in height, he was able to win the fight thanks to his superior footwork, southpaw jab, and boxing knowledge. Joshua was defeated.
In the ring, Usyk has demonstrated that he is without equal; nonetheless, if there is one man who has a chance to defeat him, it is “The Gypsy King” in a fight for all the marbles.