By Mark Elezaj
Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KO’s) stunned the world with a clear and decisive win over Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) in front of nearly 68,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, winning the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles.
Usyk now joins a very short list of fighters that have won world titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.
Usyk won on scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-112.
The Fighting Voice scored the fight 116-112 for Usyk.
Usyk came out strong from the start, applying pressure and attacking Joshua. His footwork followed by his straight let hand give Joshua issues early.
In Round two, Usyk continued to apply the pressure, keeping Joshua guessing and unable to assert himself.
Round three, Usyk was in control of the fight, outlandish the champion and hurting Joshua with an overhand left late in the round.
Joshua was able to get it going in round four, but Usyk continued to beat Joshua to the punch, attacking from different angles and using his speed advantage to keep Joshua away.
Round five was AJ’s best round of the fight up to this point. Joshua was able to push the action, landing hard body shots that pushed Usyk back.
Round six was another strong round for Joshua. Now the champion was coming forward more, landing the harder shots and controlling the round. Usyk however responded well to the attacks and continued to fight back.
In the seventh round, Usyk picked up the pace and began to land at ease, working off of his jab and landing his left hand, dominating the round and hurting the champion again.
Round eight, Usyk was more defensive minded, looking to stay away from Joshua’s big shots while landing his double jab.
In round nine, you could see that both fighters were tired. Usyk continued to control the action, landing his left hand and keeping Joshua away.
Round ten was a much closer round, but Usyk, with a cut over his right eye, continued to land the bigger shots as Joshua, who’s right eye was almost swollen shut looked confused and unable to respond.
In round eleven, Joshua looked to land something big, throwing huge right hands hoping to connect and score the KO victory, but Usyks head movement and speed were too fast for the champion. Usyk controlled the round and made it look easy.
The twelfth and final round, Usyk came out focused and continued to be the aggressor, landing a barrage of power shots that sent the champion to the ropes on unsteady legs again.
“It went exactly as I expected it to go,” Usyk said during his post-fight interview on Sky Sports Box Office. “There were a couple of moments when Anthony pushed me hard, but nothing that had me concerned.”
“I had no objective to knock him out. My corner pushed me not to try for that. I hit him hard and tried to knock him out, but my trainer said, ‘Just stop and do your job.’”
Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport ultimately believes that Anthony Joshua will look for a second fight with Usyk.
“The rematch is going to be tough but there is nowhere to hide,” Hearn said. “AJ is at the stage of his career where he wants his world championship and he’s already talking about it now. The doctors are talking to him. To me, it looks like a damaged eye socket. He says he’s fine but he told me he couldn’t see from about the ninth round on.”
With this victory, The 34-year-old Usyk threw a major wrench in the division’s plans to crown the first undisputed champion of the four-belt era.
Joshua was supposed to face WBC and lineal champion Tyson Fury this summer but plans were canceled after Deontay Wilder won a court injunction to invoke a trilogy bout against Fury for Oct. 9.
~ The Fighting Voice ~