Oleksandr Usyk took the deep part to cementing himself, the new king of the Heavyweight division, outpointing Anthony Joshua once again to retain the IBF,WBA and WBO heavyweight world titles, adding the Ring Magazine title with a split decision at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah.
Before his first clash with Joshua, the were questions marks on Usyk capabilities as an heavyweight, judging from his fight with Chisora. However, he has no doubt done what no other Anthony Joshua’s opponent has done, beating him twice and this time a 115-113 for Usyk by Steve Gray, 115-113, Viktor Feschenko also gave him a 116-112, which cancelled out his Glenn Feldman’s 115-113 for Joshua.
The fight was closer than the first as Joshua showed hunger to reclaim the belts. However, Usyk dug down in a fight that was mostly fast paced, showed determination and ultimately gassed out Joshua, out landing him with so much precision, especially in the 10th round.
Joshua’s post fight speech was more out of frustration as deep-down it was glaring, how close he was to reclaiming the belts. He repeated wobbled Usyk in the ninth round but the Ukrainian, showed heart, rode with the storm and ultimately bounced back in the tenth round.
Joshua, who now goes back to the drawing board, made a few changes to his camp ahead of the rematch after many pointed out his failure to impose himself on the smaller fighter. Trainer Robert Garcia was brought in to implant a more aggressive approach in the rematch and still Usyk prevailed.
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The first round saw both fighters battle while trying to find a good range, Usyk landed a few jabs, while Joshua landed a good body shot before the end of the round. The second round was much busier for Joshua, who scored some big shots, a right to the body, a left hook and even stopped Usyk with a body shot towards the end of the round.
The two pretty much had their chances in the third round but by the fourth, Usyk had taken over, connecting a series of left hands, Joshua tried firing back but Usyk was just all over him, closing the round with another big left hand. Usky took his new found rhythm to the fifth, dropping a counter for a failed shot from Joshua. However, he was cautioned for a low blow. He looked very comfortable throughout the round.
Joshua bounced back in the sixth round and had so much success, forced Usyk to the ropes and even broke through his defences, land four huge shots that ultimately forced a left hook reply from Usky. Both fighters engaged in a tactical battle in the seventh round. Joshua enjoyed fighting from range but Usyk fought back in the second half of the fight landing a huge left on Joshua.
Joshua mounted some pressure on Usyk in the eight round , forcing the Ukrainian to hold. Joshua landed a big hook to the body and a then a right before Usyk bounced back with a stunning left hook to close the round. Joshua suddenly seem to see and end and quickly went straight at Usyk in the 9th, landed a left hook, a right and an uppercut that confirmed Usyk in trouble. Usyk ran but Joshua followed, landing heavy shots to the head as he looked to finish Usky off, however he survived.
Usyk bounced back in the tenth round, battered Joshua and had him forced to the ropes. Joshua was in deep trouble being at the end of a series of hooks, the Ukrainian was however stopped in his tracks by a big right hand but resumed after recovering. This time Joshua survived.
Usyk took the speed into the eleventh round and while Joshua tried to bounce back with a big right, Usky’s speed was too much for him. Usyk danced round landing hooks upon hooks with different angles that forced Joshua to lose his legs. Usyk was all over him but he survived again.
Joshua landed two big shots in the start of the final round, a body shot and a big right hand but missed a right, opening up for three big counter lefts from Usyk. Joshua landed a right Usyk replied with a body shot. Joshua tried to force a finish but Usyk always had the final blow. The bell ended the fight and both honoured one another with a hug.
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