Oleksandr Usyk v Anthony Joshua 2: Briton loses world title rematch by cut up determination

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Oleksandr Usyk punches Anthony Joshua
Oleksandr Usyk stays undefeated whereas Anthony Joshua suffers the third defeat of his profession

Anthony Joshua’s bid to recapture the unified heavyweight titles led to disappointment as Oleksandr Usyk produced a terrific efficiency to win by cut up determination in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In a conflict billed because the Rage on the Crimson Sea, a spirited Joshua, 32, confirmed some aggressiveness and intent – an enormous enchancment from their first battle – however couldn’t match the brilliance and ring savviness of the Ukrainian.

Two judges scored the battle 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk, whereas a 3rd choose gave it 115-113 to the challenger. Whereas there have been some shut rounds, Usyk was the deserved winner.

On the finish of the battle, a livid Joshua – fairly bizarrely – picked up two of Usyk’s belts, dropped them out of the ring and strode in the direction of the dressing room, earlier than turning spherical and getting again into the ring to offer an impassioned speech.

“Usyk is one hell of a fighter. That is simply emotion,” he stated. “In the event you knew my story, you’d perceive the eagerness. I am not an newbie boxer. I used to be going to jail and I acquired bail and I began coaching.

“It exhibits the eagerness we put into this. For this man to beat me tonight, it exhibits the degrees of onerous work he should have put in, so please give him a spherical of applause as heavyweight champion of world.

“They stated that I am not a 12-round fighter. I ain’t 14 stone, I am 18 stone, I am heavy. It is onerous work. This man right here is phenomenal.”

Joshua has now suffered back-to-back defeats towards Usyk, with the champion retaining the WBA (Tremendous), WBO and IBF titles he received in London final September.

Usyk calls out Fury

Oleksandr Usyk helps Anthony Joshua to his feet
Usyk says he solely desires to battle Tyson Fury

Joshua had some success within the battle – and loved his greatest spherical within the ninth, charging Usyk down and unloading a flurry of punches, paying homage to the AJ of outdated.

However such is the brilliance of Usyk, he got here again preventing within the tenth spherical and was touchdown clear blow after blow. Usyk landed a five-punch mixture, and Joshua turned a sitting duck.

Joshua fatigued and Usyk – who only a few months in the past was defending his nation towards the Russian invasion – took full benefit within the championship rounds.

“I commit this victory to my household, my nation, my staff, to all of the navy defending this nation – thanks a lot,” he stated, earlier than calling out WBC champion Tyson Fury.

“I am positive that Tyson Fury just isn’t retired but. I am satisfied he desires to battle me. I need to battle him. If I am not preventing Fury, I am not preventing in any respect.

“Solely God is aware of whether or not I’ll battle him or not however all these gents right here round me, my staff, they will assist me.”

Fury lately introduced his retirement however has till 26 August to resolve on whether or not he’ll relinquish the belt.

The Gypsy King took to social media to criticise each fighters, and should not but be executed with boxing. The carrot of a conflict with Usyk – one which would definitely cement the winner’s legacy as an all-time nice – is dangling.

Usyk shines in Jeddah

The boxers made their ring walks at roughly 01:00 native time. Even in these early hours, there have been temperatures of 30C, as roughly 12,000 followers stuffed out the air-conditioned King Abdullah Sport Metropolis Area.

A crowd that was considerably subdued for a lot of the night time got here alive as Joshua – the challenger – marched to the ring first. Jeers echoed across the area as Usyk adopted. It was clear who the fan favorite was.

Heading into the battle, there have been questions as to how effectively Joshua and new coach Robert Garcia had gelled, having solely began working collectively this 12 months.

The opening few rounds had been shut, however ones which Usyk most definitely edged. After three rounds, American Garcia instructed Joshua he had received each spherical.

The champion was given time to recuperate within the fifth spherical after a Joshua low blow had him wincing. A two-punch mixture to Joshua’s midriff and head, from vary, was the choose of the sixth spherical.

Because the battle progressed, Usyk’s motion began to dictate the battle. He landed a counter left within the seventh, earlier than Joshua unloaded two sensible pictures to the physique within the eight.

Then got here the 2 of probably the most memorable rounds, out of the 24 throughout two bouts, between the 2 fighters. Joshua gave it all the pieces within the ninth, and appeared to have Usyk in a spot of hassle. Maybe it was a ploy from Usyk to tire Joshua out. Within the tenth, he broke Joshua’s resolve – and went on to take the battle.

Did Joshua reply his critics?

Anthony Joshua speaks to the crowd
Joshua was upset after the choice and spoke on to the gang

Earlier than the battle, Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn insisted defeat wouldn’t spell retirement however described the bout as must-win.

After a 3rd loss in 5 bouts, Joshua now has to resurrect his profession. However he can take positives from his efficiency. His fame and legacy have been dealt a blow, however maybe not as heavy as many predicted.

In June 2019, Joshua suffered a surprising knockout defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr in New York. Six months later, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Joshua recaptured his heavyweight crown with a disciplined factors win.

Beating Usyk, nonetheless, was a very completely different problem. Joshua was in towards a pound-for-pound star – the trickiest of southpaws. And he was going through a patriotic Ukrainian decided to carry some much-needed pleasure to a nation torn aside by means of conflict.

Boxing followers wished to see some coronary heart and battle from Joshua. Within the tenth spherical, when beneath assault from Usyk, he barked “come on” at his opponent.

Such is the beast of heavyweight boxing and the extent of fame bestowed on Joshua, there’ll all the time be critics. This time, although, maybe not for his efficiency, however for his post-fight interview.

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