Oleksandr Usyk Dethrones Anthony Joshua By Unanimous Decision
After dethroning Anthony Joshua with a spectacular performance in London, Oleksandr Usyk became the new unified heavyweight world champion.
iexclusivenews Nigeria reports that in front of 65,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Ukrainian put on a masterpiece, outclassing Joshua throughout 12 rounds and injuring the defending champion on many occasions.
The scorecards – 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 – were all for Usyk and there was a mere shrug of the shoulders from Joshua as the second defeat of his professional career was confirmed.
Having seen a fight with fellow Briton Tyson Fury collapse last summer, Joshua opted to face his WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk instead.
It appeared the easier fight for Joshua, but boxing’s triumphant return to stadium nights was soured for the home crowd by a truly exceptional performance from the challenger.
Usyk pure class against one-gear Joshua
As he reached the ring, Joshua appeared calm and smiling, but his face was carved with concentration from the first bell.
Usyk’s skills were immediately apparent, with the 34-year-old full of feints and pace from the start, pushing Joshua around the ring at ease while the defending champion fell into a rather passive posture.
In the early rounds, Joshua fired a few warning shots that Usyk either caught with a glove or spun away from. Usyk would make Joshua miss and implement his own gameplan, which would become the trend of the fight.
In the third round, Usyk rattled Joshua with a left cross that elicited a loud response from the fans.
Joshua rode the danger, failing to respond, but making it to the bell safely. Usyk was now brimming with confidence and the London crowd tried in vain to rouse their man into life.
A low shot from Joshua brought a complaint from Usyk and Joshua fired off another, perhaps sensing a weakness in his opponent. Round five was Joshua’s best to that point, but Usyk remained in control and the Briton continued to miss his attempts to land any meaningful shots.
Finally, in the sixth round, Joshua landed his right hand, sparking a response form Usyk who widened his stance and appeared ready to trade. Joshua backed off, wary of a firefight.
And Joshua’s fears were realised in the seventh as Usyk responded brilliantly to stun him with a left hook on the chin and send him stumbling backwards. Joshua stayed on his feet, surviving the round but now in a dire situation.
Usyk was comfortably ahead on the scorecards and Joshua struggled to close the gap. The huge weight advantage was nowhere in evidence, with Usyk keeping the fight at range and urgings from Joshua’s corner to move forward appearing to fall on deaf ears.
Joshua had Usyk briefly on the ropes in the ninth but returned to his corner with a bloody nose having caught a hard shot to the face in the closing seconds of the round.
There was blood on the faces of both men in the 11th round. Joshua had a cut and swelling on his eye; Usyk had a gash on his left eye. But while Usyk’s mouth was open, he was by far the busier fighter in the penultimate round, outclassing Joshua with ease once again.
The crowd desperately tried to inspire the defending champion, who needed a knockout in the final round. But it was the challenger who almost found the decisive punch, pushing a dazed Joshua on to the ropes.
The bell saved Joshua from suffering another knockout defeat and there was a nervous wait for Usyk’s team for the scorecards.
There were to be no more shocks, however, as all three judges gave it to the challenger and ended Joshua’s short second reign as world champion after just one fight.
Joshua left at a crossroads
Where Joshua’s quest will lead him next is unknown. There is a rematch clause, which the two-time world champion will undoubtedly exercise.
He has previously been defeated twice, both times by a smaller opponent. Usyk didn’t hit the knockout punch, but he did expose Joshua’s faults and offensive limitations.
Joshua had no answer for Usyk, and the champion appeared to be dragging his feet through muck as his opponent floated over the ring. There was no attempt to intimidate Usyk, wear him down, or drag him to the ground.
It was a strange, almost hapless display from Joshua which leaves his legacy as one of the heavyweight greats in ruins.
Joshua vs. Fury already appears to be dead, aside from the Briton’s long-term professional chances.
After the unification contest crumbled last summer, Fury will face Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month, and every fight fan’s worst dread has come true.
To begin, Joshua must defeat Usyk in a rematch, which, after Saturday night’s fight, appears to be near impossible.