Usyk Beats Joshua, Claims World Heavyweight Boxing Titles
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk dethroned world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua with a stunning display to earn a unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
The 34-year-old former undisputed cruiserweight world champion put on a master class to silence the vast majority of the 67,000 fans who packed into the huge arena.
Usyk, giving away height, weight and reach to the champion, proved too elusive for Joshua throughout an enthralling contest and landed the much cleaner shots, finishing with a flurry in round 12 as he went in search of a knockout.
Joshua stayed upright but the decision was a formality as Usyk seized the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts with the three judges scoring it 117-112, 116-112, 115-113.
Former Olympic champion Usyk, contesting only his third professional heavyweight fight, follows in the footsteps of compatriots Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who dominated the division for a decade from 2004-15.
He is only the third cruiserweight world champion to step up a weight and become the heavyweight world champion after Evander Holyfield and David Haye.
“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,” Usyk said in an interview.
“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.”
For Joshua, a second career defeat was a crushing blow and scuppered hopes of a unification showdown with Tyson Fury, the WBC holder, who takes on American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9th. Joshua gave the crowd little to cheer and ran out of ideas against his opponent who was ahead throughout.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said his fighter was “devastated” by the defeat, adding that he would go to hospital with a suspected broken eye socket.
“Congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk. What a fighter. He put in a great performance and the better man won,” Hearn said.
“I had it reasonably close in the eighth and then Usyk ran away with it.”
Joshua later took to social, saying: “Keep positive even if the world’s crumbling in front of you! London I love you & thank you each and every time!”