February 6, 2023

The Briton loses a world-title challenge in Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2 by a split decision.

Read Time:4 Minute, 58 Second

 Oleksandr Usyk put on an outstanding effort to win by split decision in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, putting a stop to Anthony Joshua’s attempt to reclaim the unified heavyweight belts.

A determined Joshua, 32, demonstrated some aggression and intent in the bout, which was dubbed “The Rage on the Red Sea,” but he was unable to match the Ukrainian’s brilliance and ring knowledge.

Three judges gave the contest to Usyk with scores of 115–113 for Usyk and 116–112 for the challenger. Even though there were a few close matches, Usyk was the deserving champion.

In an odd move, after the fight, a furious Joshua grabbed up two of Usyk’s belts, dumped them to the ground, and stormed into the locker room. He then turned around and returned to the ring to deliver an eloquent speech.

“Usyk is a fierce fighter. He answered, “That’s simply emotion. “You would understand the enthusiasm if you understood my tale. I’m not a recreational boxer. I was about to go to jail when I was granted bail and began my training.

“It demonstrates the dedication we have to this. Give this man a round of applause for becoming the world’s heavyweight champion; his victory over me tonight is a testament to the amount of effort he must have put forth.

I’m not a 12-round warrior, they claimed. I weigh 18 stone, not 14; I am heavy. It takes effort. This dude right here is amazing.

Joshua has now lost to Usyk twice, but the champion still holds the WBA (Super), WBO, and IBF crowns that he earned in London in September.

  • Usyk vs. Joshua 2, as it happened.
  • Smith brutally knocks out Bauderlique.

Usyk summons Fury

Joshua had some success in the fight and had his finest round in the ninth when he charged Usyk down and sent a barrage of punches that had an AJ-like feel to them.

But because of Usyk’s skill, he returned to the fight in the tenth round and began to score precise blow after precise hit. Joshua was rendered defenceless when Usyk connected with a five-punch combo.

Usyk, who was just a few months earlier defending his country against the Russian invasion, profited greatly from Joshua’s exhaustion in the latter rounds.

Before addressing WBC champion Tyson Fury, he stated, “I dedicate this victory to my family, my country, my team, and to all the soldiers defending this country. Thank you so much.”

“Tyson Fury is most likely still active. He really does seem to want to fight me. I want to challenge him. I’m not fighting if I’m not going up against Fury.

God alone knows whether I will fight him or not, but my squad, the men in this room, will support me.

Fury recently declared his retirement, but he still has until the 26th of August to determine whether or not to give up the belt.

The Gypsy King criticised both boxers on social media and hinted that he would still compete in fights. A fight with Usyk, which would undoubtedly cement the winner’s legacy as an all-time great, is the tempting bait.

In Jeddah, Usyk glows.

At at 1:00 local time, the boxers began their ring walks. Temperatures in the early morning hours reached 30C, and 12,000 spectators packed the air-conditioned King Abdullah Sport City Arena.

As Joshua, the challenger, entered the ring first, the audience, which had been rather quiet for the majority of the evening, erupted into life. Usyk followed as jeers resounded around the arena. Who was the crowd favourite was obvious.

Given that they had only recently started training together this year, there were concerns before the fight about how well Joshua and his new trainer Robert Garcia had gotten along.

Although the first few rounds were close, Usyk most certainly prevailed. American Garcia informed Joshua that he had won each round after three rounds.

In the fifth round, the champion was allowed some breathing room to regroup after being hit low by Joshua. The decisive blow in the sixth round was a two-punch combination to Joshua’s head and midriff delivered from a distance.

Usyk’s movement began to control the bout as it went on. He scored a countershot to the left in the seventh, and then Joshua scored two well-placed body shots in the eighth.

Then, out of the 24 rounds spread over two fights, the two fighters’ two most memorable rounds occurred. Joshua gave it his all in the ninth and appeared to be having trouble with Usyk. Usyk may have done it to wear Joshua down. He broke Joshua’s determination in the tenth round and won the bout.

Did Joshua respond to his detractors?

After the choice, Joshua was angry and addressed the group.

Joshua and the fight’s promoter Eddie Hearn maintained before the fight that failure would not mean retirement but characterised it as a must-win.

Joshua must now revive his career after suffering his third defeat in five fights. However, he can learn from his performance. His reputation and legacy have suffered, but probably not to the extent that many had anticipated.

Joshua lost a surprise knockout to Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York in June 2019. Six months later, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Joshua won on the scorecards to reclaim his heavyweight title.

But defeating Usyk presented a completely other set of difficulties. Joshua was up against the most difficult southpaw and a star in terms of weight class. And there stood a patriotic Ukrainian determined to spread some much-needed joy throughout a country that had been devastated by war.

Boxing fans expected Joshua to display some passion and grit. When Usyk attacked him in the tenth round, he yelled “come on” at him.

There will always be detractors given the nature of heavyweight boxing and the level of prominence placed upon Joshua. Perhaps not for his performance this time, but rather for his post-fight interview.

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