Anthony Joshua lost to Usyk…once again proving to be Anthony Joshua’s adversary, Oleksandr Usyk successfully defended his heavyweight world belts.
11 months after losing to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Joshua turned in a much-improved performance with his new trainer Robert Garcia by his side. But Usyk once more proved to be too strong, winning on two of the three scorecards.
Joshua‘s post-fight behaviour, in which he grabbed up two of the four titles available, slammed them to the floor and rushed out of the ring in rage, however, ruined his performance.
The Olympic champion gathered himself, entered the ring once again, and then made an X-rated speech as tensions reached a breaking point in Saudi Arabia.
For the first time in his career, Joshua entered the ring first an hour sooner. He was wearing black instead of white, which he had worn for his previous 11 world title fights.
The British fighter was backed by inspirational words from renowned coach Cus D’Amato in another homage to Mike Tyson.
Usyk, meantime, left the changing room wearing the blue and yellow of his native country in an effort to maintain his undefeated streak and solidify his place at the top of the fabled pound-for-pound list.
Usyk delivered the opening knockout blow of the contest with a left hand to the chin as Joshua attempted to work the champion’s body. After that, he returned another left hand with a backhand of his own, but the Ukrainian got off to a stronger start.
With a right hand, Joshua marked the beginning of the second round as he attempted to seize the initiative. Usyk hit flush with his lead right hand as he attempted to drop to the ground like in their first encounter due to concerns with his footwork.
In the first minute of the third stanza, Joshua landed a clubbing left-right, but he was having trouble maintaining any consistency against Usyk’s evasive tactics.
The challenger put in enough effort to win the session even though the champion made his way into the round toward the bell.
Joshua’s corner informed him that he had won the first three fights, and in the fourth round, the British fighter scored with a hard jab to take the lead.
Usyk was knocked back by a right hand, but the smaller man took the blow nicely on his gloves and then planted his feet before delivering a lethal left hand. Read More…
At the start of the fifth round, left hands were exchanged as a more aggressive Joshua appeared more at ease using his hands freely. Joshua appeared to have struck Usyk in the body, but the Ukrainian claimed to have received a low hit and needed some time to recover.
At the start of the sixth round, Joshua chased Usyk as he landed a right hand and a left hook. The pace slowed and the wear and tear in the challenger’s right eye became apparent.
Joshua, however, inspired the group with a right-hand strike against the ropes. Usyk answered with a left-hand-right hook, then won the round by a decisive margin.
As the fight began in the second half, Joshua tried to rough up Usyk by holding his head and aiming for the body. Usyk responded with the opposing hand as he took control in the second half of the round as he attempted to take the centre of the ring.
Before the eighth round began, the referee commanded that the canvas be cleaned since the rivals’ perspiration from the desert heat had made the ground slick.
Usyk retaliated with a flurry after Joshua’s left hook to the ribs connected on the restart. Joshua, however, pushed him to hold on as he started attacking the body again as he had threatened to do during their final confrontation.
After successfully getting inside, Joshua started to batter Usyk’s body in the middle of the ring. The champion was put on the defensive for the first time in 21 rounds as the Ukrainian briefly appeared rattled.
Usyk, however, made a quick start to the tenth round with a flurry of left hands and showed no signs of being affected. Joshua had little to counter the assault, but he unexpectedly produced a right hand from nowhere to knock his opponent unconscious.
However, Usyk outperformed everyone in the final minute as his recuperation abilities took centre stage.
With six minutes left, Usyk felt an early finish, but Joshua remained a threat when he went to the body. The champion, though, seemed to possess inexhaustible stores of strength as he sparred carefully to maintain a lead going into the decisive round.
In the last round, Joshua probably needed to end the fight. He attempted to do so by landing a right hand against the ropes, but Usyk promptly countered.
And the winner before the judges announced that his rule would continue was the champion, who won with scores of 113-115, 115-113, and 116-112.