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Oleksandr Usyk Stuns Anthony Joshua To Become New Heavyweight Champion

Oleksandr Usyk new heavyweight champion

Photo via The Athletic

For many months, Oleksandr Usyk kept saying he wanted to fight Anthony Joshua and take his various heavyweight titles. 

Well, after 34 months following his World Boxing Super Series tournament victory to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion, Usyk’s self-fulfilling prophecy came true. After 12 hard-fought rounds, Usyk came out on top with a unanimous decision victory over Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. All three judges had Usyk winning with scores of (117-112, 116-112, 115-113) to become the new unified WBA, WBO, & IBF heavyweight champion.

Usyk dictated the pace of the fight for most of the first half, keeping himself within arm’s reach and circling around the champion. Joshua struggled to land anything significant and seemed a bit tepid to throw any hard shots. 

For most of the opening three rounds, Usyk kept landing small combinations and using varying angles to keep Joshua from figuring out his opponent’s gameplan. Usyk even staggered Joshua a bit late in the third round with a left hand.

However, Joshua bounced back with good body work and overall better punching from him. Joshua’s best round came in the sixth round with a right hand that also staggered him. In response, Usyk landed a very clean left hand in the following round that sent Joshua stumbling back almost to the ropes in the same manner Joshua experienced in the third round. 

Joshua went straight back to the body in round eight, connecting with a right uppercut to the body, but Usyk also battled back to make it a more competitive round. The back-and-forth continued for several more rounds, as Joshua and Usyk traded shots all the way through the championship rounds. 

Usyk finished the fight strong, hurting Joshua with a series of short combinations in the final minute of the title bout. Joshua struggled to keep up with Usyk’s accuracy and it ultimately ended with Joshua’s title reign being over a second time. 

Usyk had been waiting for many months to get his shot at Joshua’s heavyweight titles. After Usyk became the undisputed cruiserweight champion and successfully retained his titles against Tony Bellew, the Ukrainian moved up to heavyweight and was named the WBO’s mandatory challenger for the heavyweight title. However, Usyk took a pair of fights, against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora, while he waited for his title shot and got acclimated to the new weight class.

As for a rematch, there is a rematch clause, as mentioned on the DAZN broadcast. With that fact, there is a strong possibility that there will be an immediate rematch, provided that Joshua’s seemingly injured eye does not prevent him from doing so.

Usyk now joins WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury as the division’s top fighters. If at some point, Usyk and Fury fight to crown an undisputed champion, Usyk could join Evander Holyfield as fighters who have won the undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight titles. 

However, Usyk is not thinking about a rematch, or any fight in the future, saying in the post-fight broadcast that he wants to spend time with his family and be home after preparing for the fight since January.

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