Usyk Ends Anthony Joshua’s Reign As World Heavyweight Champion


Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk (L) fights British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua at the end of their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. Usyk defeated Joshua on points. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Oleksandr Usyk ended Anthony Joshua’s reign as world heavyweight champion in front of the Londoner’s home crowd with a stunning unanimous points decision victory on Saturday, scuppering hopes of a ‘Battle of Britain’ unification bout with fellow world title-holder Tyson Fury.

Joshua ended the 12th and final round of the contest backed up on the ropes, with the cheers of a crowd of more than 66,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium no match for the skills of his challenger.

The impressive Ukrainian triumphed 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 on the scorecards of the three judges in just the former undisputed cruiserweight world champion’s third bout as a heavyweight.

His victory, which extended Usyk’s perfect record as a professional to 19 wins from as many fights, saw him become just the third boxer after Evander Holyfield of the United States and Britain’s David Haye to win both the cruiserweight and heavyweight world titles.

Boxing fans have long looked forward to a clash between Joshua and British compatriot Fury, who defends his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month — the third time the pair have fought each other following a split-decision draw and a win for Fury.

But Joshua had to get past Usyk, the 2012 Olympic heavyweight champion at the London Games where Joshua won the super-heavyweight gold medal.

“This means a lot for me. The fight went the way I expected it to go. There were moments when Anthony pushed me hard but it was nothing special,” said Usyk, who now follows brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in becoming a Ukrainian world heavyweight champion, via a translator.

“I had no objective to knock him out because my corner pushed me not to do that. In the beginning, I tried to hit him hard, but then I stuck to my job.”

There is a rematch clause, with Joshua — who has now won 24 and lost two of his professional bouts — having previously lost his belts when beaten by Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019 only to regain the titles in a rematch in Saudi Arabia six months later.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Sky: “I have spoken to him (Joshua) and it was a tough fight. He is devastated.

“Congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk… He put in a great performance and the better man won.

“(Joshua) never really got going, he will go to hospital now, I don’t know if he has broken his eye socket, it doesn’t look great.”

But Hearn added: “The fighter in AJ is already talking about winning the rematch.”

Joshua later tweeted, writing: “Keep positive even if the world’s crumbling in front of you! London, I love you & thank you each and every time!”

And despite defeat, he was backed to bounce back by Lennox Lewis, a former three-time world heavyweight champion.

READ ALSO: Fury-Wilder Reach Tentative Agreement For Third Fight: Report

 ‘Learn from This’ 


Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk celebrates and greets the crowd as he leaves the arena after defeating British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua during their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

“Gotta give it up to @usykaa on a great tactical performance tonight. For @anthonyjoshua it’s not the end of the road, but u can’t be so tentative or wait till the 8th round to turn it on. Learn from this and improve,” Lewis tweeted.

At 34, Usyk is three years older than Joshua and he was also giving away three inches in height as well as nearly 20lbs (nine kilogrammes) in weight.

Joshua appeared relaxed during a protracted ring walk that saw him shaking hands with fans.

But Usyk moved well right from the opening bell and the southpaw staggered Joshua with a powerful left-hand punch to the head in the third round.

Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk (L) fights British heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua at the end of their heavyweight boxing match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on September 25, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Usyk’s left hand continued to prove potent throughout a contest where a slimmed down Joshua did not appear to gain much resulting benefit in ring speed while at the same time lacking power in his punches.

By the end of the tenth round, there was swelling under Joshua’s right eye.

Usyk backed Joshua onto the ropes late on and appeared poised for a knockout when the final bell sounded.

AFP

Saudi Arabia To Stage Joshua Vs Ruiz World Heavyweight Fight

Saudi Arabia will stage the world heavyweight title rematch between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and champion Andy Ruiz Jr, promoters announced on Friday.

The December 7 fight, dubbed ‘Clash on the Dunes’, will see Joshua trying to win back the IBF, WBA and WBO titles he sensationally lost to Ruiz Jr in New York in June.

READ ALSO: Joshua To Face Ruiz Rematch Before End Of Year – Promoter

The bout will take place in Diriyah, which incorporates the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Turaif, on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

Heavyweight Champ Wilder Apologises After Punching TV Mascot

Wilder 'Will Come To UK' For Joshua Clash, Manager Insists
Deontay Wilder in action.                                                                     File photo: Timothy A. CLARY / AFP

 

Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder apologised on Sunday after unleashing a punch that knocked down the mascot on an ESPN programme.

Wilder, appearing on ESPN Nacion to promote his December title fight against Britain’s Tyson Fury, was asked to demonstrate his punching power by striking the mascot — a man inside a burrito-themed foam costume.

The blow knocked the sombrero-wearing mascot to the ground, although ESPN said reports the man inside the costume suffered a broken jaw were incorrect.

“I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true),” Wilder wrote on Instagram. “I have the up most high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage.

“If this is true @nacionespn I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight.”

Wilder also refuted reports that he didn’t realize there was a person inside the costume.

“Anything headlining I didn’t know a human being was in there is just straight click-baiting,” said Wilder on Instagram.

Wilder, the World Boxing Organization champion, is unbeaten in 40 bouts. He takes on former world champion Fury in Los Angeles on December 1.

AFP

Joshua and Parker set for world heavyweight title clash

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 28, 2017 shows Britain’s Anthony Joshua (L) throwing a punch at Cameroon-born Carlos Takam during their world Heavyweight title fight at The Principality Stadium in Cardiff. 
ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

Heavyweight boxing moved closer to having an undisputed world champion after it was announced Sunday that Britain’s Anthony Joshua and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker will meet for a multiple title bout in Cardiff on March 31.

Joshua will put his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation belts on the line against Parker, the World Boxing Organisation champion.

Matchroom Boxing, Joshua’s promoters, said the bout would take place at the 74,500 capacity Principality Stadium, best known for staging Wales rugby union internationals.

“I would like to announce the official news that myself and Joseph Parker will be fighting on March 31 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff,” said Joshua.

“It is a unification heavyweight championship fight. We all know what happened last time I was in a unification heavyweight championship fight — it was gruelling, it was interesting and we both left the ring with masses of respect,” the 28-year-old added.

“These fights aren’t easy because there is a lot on the line, so respect to team Parker for taking the challenge. I am looking forward to it, training camp is under way and before you know it March 31 will be upon us.”

Joshua, the London 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion, unified the WBA and IBF titles with a dramatic and hard-fought win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April before retaining both belts against Carlos Takam in a late-stoppage win in Cardiff in October.

Parker, 26, became the WBO champion in December 2016.

He made his British debut last year with a majority points win over challenger Hughie Fury, a cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Parker’s performance against Fury did not impress some ringside observers.

But Parker was adamant his punching power would test Joshua.

“Anthony Joshua is in for a huge shock,” he said. “A couple of months ago I heard him say ‘why should I be worried about this little kid from New Zealand’?

“Well, now he’s about to find out. And the world is about to find out whether AJ can really take a punch.

“My entire existence is now devoted to proving what the boxing world already knows.”

Sunday’s announcement concluded weeks of sometimes fraught talks between the two camps.

“I’m delighted to get this fight made –- it’s been a long time coming,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Champions should fight champions and AJ continues to step up to the challenges.”

 

AFP

 

Joshua expects win against experienced Klitschko

 Boxing heavyweight IBF champion Anthony Joshua says he’s confident and ready for what is arguably the toughest fight of his career so far on Saturday, as he prepares to face one of the sport’s all-time greats, Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua, 27, said he’s trained hard for the fight against a man who’s been in the sport since the 2012 Olympic champion was born.

Ukrainian Klitschko, 41, said he was obsessed with reclaiming the heavyweight titles he lost against Britain’s Tyson Fury in November 2015 — his first defeat in 11 years. Klitschko has won 64 of his 68 fights.

Britain’s Joshua, making his third defence of the IBF title he won against American Charles Martin last April, has 18 straight knockouts to his record.

Klitschko, dressed in a grey tracksuit, went on a charm offensive, describing Britain as boxing’s Mecca and saying he and Joshua were polishing the sport’s reputation.

Klitschko jokingly referred to one report that he had an eye socket injury as “fake news” and drew applause when he said he had made a video recording of himself predicting the outcome which he would keep on a USB stick sealed in his robe before it is auctioned off to raise money for his foundation.

Saturday’s fight, in which the vacant WBA belt is also up for grabs, will see the biggest crowd for a boxing match in Britain since 1939 when 90,000 watched Len Harvey take on Jock McAvoy at London’s White City.

Reuters

Haye spoiling for a Klitschko fight after Chisora demolition

British boxer David Haye after fifth round final pounding of heavyweight boxer, Briton Dereck Chisora on Saturday declared he is ready to throw fists with Vitali Klitschko.

Haye, a former heavy weight and cruiserweight initially lost one of his world titles to Wladimir Klitschko, little brother to Vladimir and he was criticised for not showing a good performance despite his claims that he had a broken nose before the fight.

But David Haye managed to do what Vitali failed to do in the last defence of his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title in February which is knocking out Chisora.

But Haye felt an amount of redemption after twice leaving Chisora slumped on the canvas at Upton Park, from left hooks and hopes it will earn him another crack at a Klitschko.

Wladimir, who holds three of the world title belts, insists he is not interested in a rematch with Haye for the moment.

Vitali, who holds the other world title belt, was linked with a defence against Haye earlier this year.

But WBC champion Vitali’s next challenger on September 10 is Germany-based Syrian Manuel Charr, who gate-crashed the Haye-Chisora post-fight press conference to announce he would be prepared to fight Haye once he beats the WBC champion.

Haye, however, expects Vitali to prevail and hopes to face the Ukrainian later this year or in 2013.

“I held a version of the world heavyweight championship and I would like to regain a version of the world heavyweight championship,” Haye told a news conference.

“If Vitali beats this gentleman [Manuel Charr] I would love to challenge him for his title. If it’s not meant to be, so be it.

“If this was my last performance, I have gone out with a bang and everyone is happy. After a performance like that and him getting on, if you were one of his advisers you wouldn’t tell Vitali to fight me.

“I’ve proved my punching power against someone who pushed Vitali to the wire. It was a measuring stick to show how I performed against his last opponent.

“I would be very confident of beating Vitali.”

Vitali, 40, may well retire after facing Charr to pursue a full-time political career, which would leave Haye trying to convince Wladimir, 36, to give him a rematch.

Haye’s rediscovered his knockout power – he has stopped 24 of 25 opponents – against Chisora and was well ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage, with one judge scoring it 40-36 and the other two seeing it 39-37.

But Haye had to take some shots from Chisora, who kept marching forward until he was caught by a brilliant left hook in the fifth round. Another quick right sent Chisora stumbling backwards onto the canvas.

He got to his feet at the count of seven but after a ferocious onslaught, he was left open and Haye seized his chance with a swinging left hook to the jaw.

This time, referee Luis Pabon waved the contest over as Chisora sluggishly got to his feet.

But after the distasteful pre-fight trash-talk, which followed the pair’s punch-up at a press conference following Chisora’s point’s loss to Vitali in February, the two Londoners embraced in the ring.

Haye then paid tribute to Zimbabwe-born Chisora, who has lived in London since the age of 16.

“It was tough,” he said. “I thought it would be easier than it was but I trained for it to be tough. I trained for the best Dereck Chisora and that guy turned up.

“He stepped up a level here and took some amazing shots and landed some amazing shots. It felt like a great fight. After sharing the ring with Dereck I have a new-found respect for him.”

Chisora, 28, will pay Haye #20,000 for him to donate to a charity after the pair had a bet on their fight for the minor World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) International heavyweight titles.

“For a split second I didn’t concentrate and it was the sort of shot that puts you down,” said Chisora.

“Vitali has not got power and isn’t interested in fighting anymore, so David probably wins.”