Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk managed to defend his world heavyweight title tonight in the versions of the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the International Boxing Organization (IBO) despite the inspiration of the British Anthony Joshua and his strong performances at times. Usyk was the better man on court and won on points in the 12-round match held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in a match dubbed the “Battle of the Red Sea”.
While the younger, taller and heavier Joshua showed an improvement in form from their previous title loss meeting, and was even aggressive at times, the Ukrainian was brilliant in his defense and in landing flawless power shots blows that systematically rocked the Briton. Usyk also showed show talent with his behavior in the ring.
Joshua also challenged him and had rounds of clear dominance, but it wasn’t enough for him.
The decision for Usyk’s victory was made with the votes of two of the three judges – a British, Ukrainian and American. Two of them ruled in favor of Usyk with 115:113 points and 116-112, while the third gave 115:113 for his challenger. Despite the close result, Usyk was the deserved winner.
Joshua was visibly exhausted already in the last two rounds and in the end he had difficulty even standing on his feet. He saluted his opponent as soon as the final gong sounded. The Ukrainian immediately knelt down and began accepting congratulations even before the referee had raised his hand in victory, after a slightly longer than usual judging period. As they waited for the decision, Joshua took one end of the Ukrainian flag that Usyk had been carrying and slung it behind his back, which was read as a sign of Kyiv’s support in the Russian-led war.
After the victory was awarded, however, Joshua reacted rather unsportsmanlikely by taking two of Usyk’s belts and throwing them out of the ring, throwing them over the ropes and leaving the fences. He even had to be questioned by his headquarters.
However, the Briton later called Usyk a “phenomenally talented boxer” and a “devilish fighter”.
“This man beat me today. Maybe I could have boxed better, but it shows how much I had to work. I can’t do combinations like Rocky Marciano, I’m heavy and it takes a lot of effort. This guy is a phenomenal talent.” Joshua said. He also shared quite an emotional one
Usyk, who now wants to meet the British Tyson Fury in the ring, announced that if he does not do this, he will finish boxing, reported “Sky Sports”.
“I’m sure Fury’s not done yet. I’m sure he wants to meet me and I want to meet him. And if I don’t fight Fury, I won’t fight at all. Only God knows if I’m going to box or not,” Usyk said.
“This is history. Many generations will watch the fight, especially the round in which they tried to beat me, but I survived and turned everything around,” added the boxer.
Fury was quick to react, posting a video on Instagram in which he criticized both Joshua and Usyk, before suggesting he could be persuaded to return to the ring after announcing his retirement.
“This was one of the worst heavyweight matches I’ve ever seen. I’m going to destroy both of them in the same night. Put away your checkbook because the Gypsy King is here to stay forever,” he wrote on social media .
With the success, 35-year-old Oleksandr Usyk now has 20 wins in the professional ring from 20 matches, 13 of them by knockout.
The 32-year-old Anthony Joshua has a balance of 24 successes (22 knockouts) and 3 losses.