Anthony Joshua was dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk. The Ukrainian heavyweight champion became the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 2002.
Oleksandr Usyk stunned Anthony Joshua to win the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles. The fight was a sell out with tickets selling for as much as $8,000 on secondary markets.
6:14 p.m. Eastern
Nick Parkinson is a writer who lives in the United
- •Boxing reports for ESPN.co.uk and a number of national publications
- •Has covered British boxing for more than 15 years.
- •Shows up on BoxNation’s Boxing Matters
LONDON, United Kingdom — With a unanimous points decision victory against Anthony Joshua for the WBA, IBF, and WBO global heavyweight championships on Saturday, Oleksandr Usyk shook up the heavyweight division and became a two-weight world champion.
In front of Joshua’s 66,227-strong home crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, the Ukrainian’s footwork kept him out of danger as his precise jab and rapid combinations piled on the points as he won by judges’ scores of 117-112, 116-112, 115-113.
Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), 34, wounded Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs), 31, in the third and seventh rounds, and almost killed him off late in the 12th round with a ferocious assault. Joshua will beg for a rematch, but he was no match for Usyk, who was faster to the punch and more elusive.
Stats on Punching
|Total number of landings||123||148|
|Total number of throws||641||529|
|Jabs had landed.||52||52|
|Jabs have been thrown.||427||309|
|The power has arrived.||71||96|
|Throwing of force||214||220|
|CompuBox provided this image.|
Joshua, the naturally larger man who has lost the belts for the second time in two years, is now calculating the significant cost of yet another stunning loss, which puts a stop to his plans to face English rival Tyson Fury for all four global heavyweight titles next year.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn described the loss as “devastating.” “Usyk is in excellent shape, he has amazing feet, and he throws a lot of punches.” It was a humbling loss. On the night, [Joshua] was beaten by the superior guy.
“He’ll want to return to the rematch right away. The urge hasn’t gone away. In that battle, he can perform so much better.”
On Oct. 9, WBC champion Fury defends his championship for the third time against American Deontay Wilder, but the winner may now face Usyk, who won the crowns in just his third fight at heavyweight after unifying all four world cruiserweight titles in 2018.
With Usyk’s victory, the majority of the world heavyweight championship belts have returned to Ukraine, after brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko dominated the category while ruling as champions from 2004 to 2015, including a time when they held all four titles. Vitali was at ringside in London to take it all in.
Usyk, a mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO belt, became the third boxer after David Haye (England) and Evander Holyfield (USA) to win world championships at cruiserweight and heavyweight (United States). He entered the bout as the No. 4 heavyweight on ESPN.
Usyk has won three times in the United Kingdom in the last three years, including an Olympic gold medal in London 2012.
After surprising Anthony Joshua in front of 68,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Oleksandr Usyk celebrates. Getty Images/Julian Finney
Usyk stated, “The fight went exactly as I anticipated it to happen.”
“Anthony pushed me hard at times, but nothing out of the ordinary. I had no intention of putting him out. My friends insisted that I not do it. You didn’t get to witness Usyk at his finest. I can do a lot better.”
Joshua weighed 240 pounds, 19 pounds more than Usyk, who weighed a career-high 221 pounds but was still significantly smaller in the ring than the champion. Joshua had a 3-inch height advantage and a 4-inch reach advantage, but Usyk overcame all of those obstacles with his quick footwork, deft boxing abilities, and bravery.
Joshua, from Watford, basked in the glow of his first big-stadium audience in the UK in three years as he walked to the ring under a barrage of pyrotechnics. In the first round, though, he tightened up, allowing Usyk to score with more blows, including a right hook to the side of the head.
Usyk, a Kyiv native, is acquainted with and trains with Vasiliy Lomachenko, a talented lightweight who has won world championships in three weight classes. Usyk, like Lomachenko, has incredible footwork, and his smooth southpaw talents made him a tough target for Joshua to locate. In the second round, Usyk was unable to put much weight into his strokes, but he did get through with a slithering left hand through the center in another hesitant, tight round.
Usyk continued to create opportunities, including a sweeping left hand in the third round that stunned Joshua. The champion grinned and was unharmed, but his team must have been worried about Usyk’s growing domination. In the fourth, Joshua retaliated with a hard right hand and tightened his defense to deny Usyk any chances to land anything.
With quick footwork, clever boxing, and bravery, Usyk overcame a significant size disadvantage against Joshua. Matchroom Boxing/Mark Robinson
Joshua won the fourth round and landed a nice right hand in the fifth round, but was caught by a pair of jabs. As he tried to set up his left hand, Usyk’s dependable right-hand lead continued darting out, but he finished the sixth on the back foot as Joshua delivered powerful, single right hands.
In the seventh round, Usyk was more effective, hitting a counter left and almost knocking down Joshua later in the round. As the tide changed again, the Ukrainian caught Joshua with a left to the jaw that sent the Englishman staggering backward. Joshua, on the other hand, countered with an aggressive eighth round in which he landed a right uppercut. In the ninth, Usyk proved to be too elusive.
By the 10th round, both had wounds around their right eyes, and Joshua’s corner tried to reduce the swelling before the 11th round. Usyk delivered several powerful punches early in the 11th, with blood pouring down his face, to set up a critical final session.
Usyk began with vigor and desire, bouncing two left hands off Joshua’s head. Joshua pressed on, but he couldn’t land enough blows to damage Usyk. The challenger was busier and braver than the champion, finishing him with a torrent of hooks that left Joshua sprawled on the ropes until the final bell. Joshua seemed to have been halted if there had been a few more seconds.
Anthony Joshua was on the verge of setting up a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles. But Oleksandr Usyk stunned him to win all three belts in the 9th round. Reference: boxing news.
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