Surprise in London: Usyk Takes Away Joshua’s World Titles

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After dethroning Anthony Joshua with a spectacular performance in London, Oleksandr Usyk became the new unified heavyweight world champion. In front of 65,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Ukrainian pulled off a masterpiece, outclassing the Briton throughout 12 rounds and injuring the defending champion on many occasions.

The scorecards were all in Usyk’s favor: 117-112, 116-112, 115-113. It meant that the Ukrainian took away three belts from Joshua: WBA, WBO, and IBF. Joshua only shrugged with his shoulders on what was an obvious referees’ decision as the second defeat of his professional career was confirmed, and to which the best betting sites for boxing had put on rather high odds.

Joshua Went to Hospital After Fight

Following the failure of a bout with fellow countryman Tyson Fury last summer, Joshua chose to face Usyk, his WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion. The fight was supposed to be easier for Joshua, but the challenger’s absolutely remarkable performance spoiled Joshua’s triumphal return to stadium nights for the home crowd.

The promoter of the Briton, Eddie Hearn, told that his fighter may have shattered his eye socket and will need to go to the hospital. A devastated Joshua left the ring immediately after the scorecards were revealed, posting a short message on Twitter a bit later: “Keep positive even if the world’s crumbling in front of you! London I love you & thank you each and every time!”

Usyk Disabled Joshua’s Gameplan

As he reached the ring, Joshua appeared calm and smiling, but his face got more serious from the first bell. Usyk’s skills were immediately apparent as the 34-year-old was 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.

The Ukrainian 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.

Usyk Remained in Control Even in Joshua’s Best Round

Joshua rode the danger, failing to reply, but safely arriving at the bell. Usyk was bursting with self-assurance, and the London crowd strove in vain to jolt him awake. Usyk complained after a low shot from Joshua, but the home fighter fired another, perhaps finding a weakness in his opponent. Round five was Joshua’s finest to that moment, but Usyk remained in command, and the Briton’s attempts to land any important shots continued to fail.

Finally, Joshua connected with his right hand in the sixth round, prompting Usyk to broaden his stance and appear ready to trade punches. Joshua took a step back, fearful of a firefight. His fears were clear in the seventh round when Usyk stunned him with a left hook to the chin that sent him reeling backward. Joshua kept on his feet and survived the round, but he was now in a dangerous situation.

Usyk Was Clearly Ahead on Scorecards

On the scorecards, Usyk was comfortably ahead and Joshua was unable to close the gap. The enormous weight advantage was not so visible in practice, with Usyk holding the fight at a distance, while urgings from Joshua’s corner to move forward falling on deaf ears. In the ninth round, Joshua briefly had Usyk on the ropes, but he returned to his corner with a bloodied nose after taking a heavy blow to the face in the last seconds of the round.

In the 11th round, both guys had blood on their faces and broken eyes. Joshua’s eye was injured and swollen, while Usyk’s was gashed. But, in the penultimate round, even though his mouth was cut open, Usyk was by much the busier fighter, outclassing Joshua with surprising ease once more.

Desperate Attempts of Crowd to Inspire Defending Champ

The reigning champion, who required a knockout in the final round to win, was desperately trying to get inspired by the audience. But it was the challenger who came closer to landing the knockout blow, sending Joshua to the ropes. The bell saved the Briton from another loss by a knockout, leaving Usyk’s team to await the scorecards with bated breath.

There were no more dilemmas as all three judges awarded the fight win to the challenger, ending Joshua’s brief reign as world champion after only one fight.

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September 25, 2021 | 10 p.m. local time