Anthony Joshua has found his nemesis: her name is Oleksandr Usyk. Eleven months after his first victory against the Briton in London, the Ukrainian also won the rematch, which this time took place in Jeddah, in front of a white-hot King Abdullah Sports City Stadium for the occasion. In front of 10,000 people, Usyk won this fight, the 20th of his professional career for no defeat, by split decision of the judges (113-115, 115-113, 116-112) after a very high level, very intense duel. Joshua himself conceded his 3rd defeat in 25 fights.
Consequence: the native of Simferopol retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts and won his time trial, he who had launched his preparation in April after leaving Ukraine, invaded by Russia since February 24. . After confirming his current status, he only lacks the last belt, that of the WBC, held by a certain Tyson Fury, retired since last April. Usyk has also been clear: he wants to fight the “Gipsy King” in the future.
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Oleksandr Usyk after his victory against Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, Sunday August 21, 2022
Credit: Getty Images
A much better Joshua, but a powerless Joshua
This Usyk – Joshua II looked a bit like the first, with a superior Ukrainian and logical winner. With the difference that this time Joshua did not seem close to the knockout, he who had been saved by a premature stoppage in September 2021 in his lair at Tottenham Stadium. More reactive and active, with a tactic of often playing the body, the Briton was almost on par with Usyk during the twelve rounds. At the start of the fight, he also read well and countered the Ukrainian.
But he never really made the difference, often out of caution and failed to place his right uppercut, especially in the third round. He has, at best, a little destabilized the Ukrainian house at two times: with a blow to the lower belly in the 5th round, which took the breath away from “The Cat”, and even more during a frenzied 9th round, where he combined rhythm and power.
Everything he had changed for a year to beat Usyk, with the contribution of Robert Garcia, was verified for a few moments. He was forced to get out of his piano piano beat in this fight anyway, as Usyk then had a slight advantage over him.
A 10th round in machine mode for Uysk
Problem: this 9th round was the momentum of the fight and not the start of the conquest for AJ, who appeared physically washed out from the start of the 10th round. In it, Usyk kicked the machine back into turbo mode, like he’d grabbed a star in Super Mario.
Livelier, faster, more technical, he definitely went for his fight in this round, just after the start of the Briton, clearly sending the sauce. Overwhelmed by the sequences of the Ukrainian, Joshua was never able to turn the tide in the last two rounds. Seeing him win the favor of one of the judges was even surprising.
Usyk appeals to Fury
As soon as the fight was over, Joshua got a little agitated. He sent two belts waltzing outside the ring before having a somewhat tough discussion with Usyk, very calm on his side, asking him how he had done to dominate him.
“Technique makes you win in boxing, you don’t have any, how did you manage to beat me?“. A question that will never have an answer. Even with perfectible English, the Ukrainian wanted to answer but Joshua went to get the microphone to do his own debriefing, without filter.
A little in a trance therefore, AJ, with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulders – an object quickly taken up by Usyk – performed a somewhat special show. Between two compliments for his executioner – “He’s a p…. of a fighter” – he ranted incomprehensible words, spoke about his background, his love of boxing, some fights from the past and left the audience a little surprised. “Sorry Usyk, I’m stealing this moment from you, but it’s because of the passion that makes us do this…“
For his part, Usyk recalled that he had done all this for Ukraine, he who had joined the territorial defense of his country last February-March at the start of the war. As for the sequel, it is named for him Tyson Fury. He absolutely wants to challenge the Briton for the unification of heavyweight belts.
“I think Tyson Fury has not retired. I want to fight him. And he wants to fight me. If I don’t fight it, I don’t fight at all.” On Twitter, Tyson Fury explained, with his words, that he did not particularly appreciate this act II. We may have seen the beginnings of the fight the boxing world has been waiting for.
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