The Ukrainian boxer completely controlled the British and almost ended the fight with the judge
Ukrainian Alexander Usyk put an end to Britain’s Anthony Joshua’s dominance of the world heavyweight boxing championship, by defeating him unanimously by the three judges during a bout that brought them together at Tottenham’s stadium in London, fading hopes of uniting titles in the “Battle of Britain” with Tyson Fury.
Joshua ended the twelfth round reeling and almost lost by the judge had it not been for the end bell in front of 66,000 spectators, most of whom supported him. The Ukrainian excelled 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113, with the marks of the three judges.
Boxing fans have long been looking forward to a fight between Joshua and his compatriot Fury, who is defending his WBC title against American Dontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month, which is the third confrontation between them after a tie and a win for Fury.
Joshua had to overtake Usek, the Olympic champion in London 2012 in heavyweight, as the Briton won the super heavyweight gold, in a fight for the titles of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Organization (WPO). .
It was expected that Joshua would face his compatriot Fury in a unified heavyweight title fight in Saudi Arabia last August, but the fight was canceled after an American arbitration panel issued a decision that ruled the right of American Dontay Wilder to enter another challenge meeting with the title holder. The World Boxing Council «WBC», according to contractual reasons.
Usyek proved that he was out of reach for Joshua and punched his British opponent during the thrilling fight, which he ended with a fierce attack in the 12th round in search of the knockout blow, to the shock of the fans.
Joshua, 31, held on, but the judges’ decision was a formality as Usek clinched the three heavyweight titles after only his third professional heavyweight bout, following in the footsteps of compatriots Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko who dominated the heavyweight division for a decade from 2004 to 2015.
He also became the third world champion in under heavyweight to advance to the top weight and be crowned world heavyweight champion after American Evander Holyfield and Britain’s David Haye.
Usyk, 34, raised his tally to 19 wins from 19 professional fights, and for Joshua, it was the second defeat in his career that includes 24 wins, and would represent a huge setback to his hopes of fighting a unification fight for the heavyweight titles against fellow British WBC champion Tyson Fury. He will face American Dontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9. Even the most die-hard Joshua fan had to admit that the British boxer was taught a lesson by a competitor who delivered a smooth performance, rarely looking disoriented even when he got a cut above his eye. Joshua did not give the fans any reason to celebrate and appeared to be a little resourceful in front of his left-handed opponent, who was superior throughout the fight.
“It’s a victory that means a lot to me,” Usek said after his victory over Joshua. The fight went the way I expected. There were moments of pressure on Anthony, but it wasn’t difficult.”
He continued, “It was not my intention to deal a fatal blow to him, because my team pressured me not to do so. At first, I tried to hit him hard, but then I stuck to my plan.”
There is a clause for another challenge with Joshua, and British boxer promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I spoke to him (Joshua) and he said it was a tough fight. He is devastating… Congratulations to Alexander Usyk… He did a great job and the best got the win.” He added: ‘Joshua was not feeling well, he’s going to the hospital now, I don’t know if he broke his eye socket. It doesn’t look good, the fighter inside Joshua is now talking about winning the rematch.”
Joshua tweeted after his loss: “I will remain an optimist even if the world is collapsing in front of me! I love you London and thank you every time.”
Despite his loss, former three-time world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis considered Joshua to come back strong and said in a tweet: “We must commend Usyk for his tactical performance. For Joshua, it’s not the end of the road, but you can’t wait for round eight to start your engines, learn what happened and try to improve.”