Oleksandr Usyk Retains World Heavyweight Titles
By: Gyang Dakwo
Oleksandr Usyk put together another excellent performance in his blockbuster rematch against Anthony Joshua, showing off great strength, accuracy and stamina to score a split-decision win and retain his WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO world heavyweight titles on Saturday night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 115-113, 113-115 in favor of Usyk.
Usyk, 35, faced a tougher test this time around from Joshua, whom he defeated by unanimous decision 11 months ago in London to become world heavyweight champion.
The Ukrainian fended off some early challenges and a powerful late surge. He was at his best in the middle rounds and from the 10th round on, using his speed and movement to outclass his opponent.
“I devote this victory to my country, my family, my team, and to the military defending the country,” he said after the win. “This is already history. Many generations are going to watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to beat me hard. But I turned it in a different way.”
After becoming the undisputed champion at cruiserweight, Usyk moved up to the heavyweight ranks in 2019. He’s 4-0 now in the division and has a chance to become an undisputed champion for a second time if he can put together a fight with WBC titleholder Tyson Fury.
Joshua, who called this fight a “must-win” in the buildup, didn’t appear to take the loss well. He confronted Usyk before taking the microphone and giving an emotional, long-winded speech.