Townsville Bulletin

World champ in shock title loss


OLEKSANDR Usyk ended Anthony Joshua’s reign as world heavyweigh­t champion in front of the Londoner’s home crowd with a stunning unanimous points decision victory on Saturday, scuppering hopes of a “Battle of Britain” unificatio­n bout with fellow world title-holder Tyson Fury.

Joshua ended the 12th and final round of the contest backed up on the ropes, with the cheers of a crowd of more than 66,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium no match for the skills of his challenger.

The impressive Ukrainian triumphed 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 on the scorecards of the three judges in just the former undisputed cruiserwei­ght world champion’s third bout as a heavyweigh­t.

His victory, which extended Usyk’s perfect record as a profession­al to 19 wins from as many fights, saw him become just the third boxer after Evander Holyfield of the United States and Britain’s David Haye to win both the cruiserwei­ght and heavyweigh­t world titles.

Boxing fans have long looked forward to a clash between Joshua and British compatriot Fury, who defends his World Boxing Council heavyweigh­t title against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month – the third time the pair have fought each other following a split-decision draw and a win for Fury.

But Joshua had to get past Usyk, the 2012 Olympic heavyweigh­t champion at a London Games, where Joshua won the super-heavyweigh­t gold medal.

“This means a lot for me. The fight went the way I expected it to go. There were moments when Anthony pushed me hard but it was nothing

special,” said Usyk – who now follows brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in becoming a Ukrainian world heavyweigh­t champion – via a translator.

“I had no objective to knock him out because my corner pushed me not to do that.

“In the beginning, I tried to hit him hard, but then I stuck to my job.”

There is a rematch clause, with Joshua – who has now won 24 and lost two of his profession­al bouts – having previously lost his belts when beaten by Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019, only to regain the titles in a rematch in Saudi Arabia six months later.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Sky: “I have spoken to him (Joshua) and it was a tough fight. He is devastated.

“Congratula­tions to Oleksandr Usyk ... He put in a great performanc­e and the better man won.

“(Joshua) never really got going, he will go to hospital now, I don’t know if he has broken his eye socket, it doesn’t look great.”

But Hearn added: “The fighter in AJ is already talking about winning the rematch.”

At 34, Usyk is three years older than Joshua and he was also giving away three inches in height as well as nearly 9kg in weight.

 ?? ?? Oleksandr Usyk lands a combinatio­n on Anthony Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Oleksandr Usyk lands a combinatio­n on Anthony Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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