Boxing just saw a big shock in the heavyweight division as Oleksandr Usyk upset Anthony Joshua by out boxing him. Usyk, in his third heavyweight fight since moving up from being a cruiserweight champion, fought a brilliant boxing match in out dueling Joshua.
In the opening round, Usyk landed two left hands that rocked Joshua head back and came forward but staying mobile. Joshua didn’t move as fluid and spent the first round being watchful.
During the second round and the third round, Usyk stayed out of Joshua reach and landed with his left. Joshua landed a couple of rights but got rocked by a big shot by Usyk, the smaller man. Throughout the fourth round, Usyk appeared to dominate with his boxing skills but at the fifth round, Joshua nailed Usyk with a solid shot at the end of the round.
Through the first half, it was a technical fight which favored Uysk as he dictated the pace and both fighters keeping their distance. During the sixth round, fans roared when Joshua landed hard shots and there even appear that maybe Usyk was moving backwards as Joshua moved forward. One of Sky pundit had the fight four to two in favor of Usyk.
Joshua has a fighter who had the confidence of a champion entering the seventh round. Joshua snapped a body shot with his left but got countered with a shot that stunned Joshua but he recovered quickly. Uysk looked back in charge the end of the seventh round.
The eighth and ninth round were more even rounds as far as scoring compared to the opening rounds where Usyk easily outboxed Joshua. In the ninth round Joshua landed a couple of good shots but so did Usyk
A cut appeared on the Usyk’s right side of face as the tenth round began and both fighters showed the wear of the fight. Joshua right eye was swelling up and Joshua appeared desperate while his corner tried to relax and ensure him the fight can be won.
Usyk came out flying at the beginning of the eleventh round and over the final six minutes of the fight, he looked the more mobile fighter. While both fighters suffered from fatigue, Usyk movement indicated that he was the fresher the figher. Usyk kept moving forward and throwing punches and while Joshua attempted one big right, it missed. Usyk rocked Joshua as the round wound down. The question was now would he win a decision fighting in Joshua’s backyard?
He won an unanimous decision, 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113.
All reasonable scores and as one British sport writer observed, “It’s a shocking night for him and his fans but Joshua can have no complaints. He was outboxed and outclassed. He started slowly, and grew into the fight as it went on, but what a display by Usyk, who kept coming forward and mixing up his angles of attack. Joshua was slower – although clearly more powerful – and he did hurt Usyk at times. But the Ukrainian is now the new heavyweight champion. It’s the second defeat of Anthony Joshua’s career.”
Sky pundit Chris Eubank Jr: “I’m gobsmacked, flabbergasted … I didn’t see the fight going that way at all. It’s only his [Usyk’s] third heavyweight fight. It was a masterclass. One of the biggest statements in boxing for a very long time. Full credit to the guy.”
Much of the boxing world were stunned. No one thinks of Usyk as a official contender for the pound for pound champion as Alvarez or Crawford are often thought of the best pound for pound but now you have to put Usyk in the conversation.
And this put the entire heavyweight division on its ear as the anticipated Fury-Joshua fight has been put on hold and Usyk has most of the heavy weight belts. Fury still has to fight Wilder and while I favor Fury in this fight due to his technical boxing skills, Wilder has a puncher chance with one blow. Usyk was unknown before tonight but now he is king of the heavyweight.