Oleksandr Usyk shows his class while Anthony Josbhua shows improvement
Oleksandr Usyk of UKRAINE will never give up. Or, more accurately, he’ll do everything he can to make sure he doesn’t. After taking a break from fighting for his country against Russia, he once again outpointed Anthony Joshua in their rematch and once again proved himself superior.
But when the scores were announced and the realization that it was a split decision, that sense of destiny was replaced by fear. Fortunately, the right person got the deciding vote.
Usyk – great Boxing News‘ point of view – won more rounds than he lost. That he lost the rounds, however, is testament to Joshua’s developing ability and will to win. For the next few days and weeks, that was all he had to be proud of. He pushed Usyk harder than he had pushed earlier. Hurt him too.
Joshua did the unexpected and tried to outbox the master boxer. It’s a tactic that failed miserably 11 months ago. But in Jeddah, “AJ” showed his improvement as he raided Usyk’s body when he was close and did his best to control his jab. For the most part, he found his opponent too efficient and too evasive but he had more success this time.
Those midsection bursts even threatened to stop Usyk at times. In the ninth round in particular, the heavyweight champion looked to be in trouble. Joshua intentionally attacked and hurt Usyk.
But the champion showed exactly why he is the champion in round 10. He took the fight back to the Englishman, coming forward with full force and then attacking with panache. Suddenly, after briefly losing control of the contest, he looked on the verge of winning it with a stoppage. Credit to Joshua, too, for surviving the storm.
Usyk took rounds 11 and 12 to put the icing on a cake that’s been a long time in the making. BN scored the match 117-111 in his favor. But Glenn Feldman, a prolific official, scored the contest 115-113 for Joshua. Fortunately, Steve Gray (115-113) and Viktor Fesechko (116-112) saw things differently. Oleksandr the Great celebrated.
And then it happened. Joshua, seemingly convinced that he was the winner, took two championship belts out of the ring and stormed out of it. As he approached the corridor to take her to his dressing room she turned, clearly furious, and walked back to the ring. His subsequent address, through a microphone he had requested, was absurd. But don’t judge him too much for that. Boxers who have endured such hardship, both physical and mental, should be kept away from the microphone. His management team, usually very protective of their cash cow, just stood by and watched. Joshua will no doubt regret his actions now. He shouldn’t regret his performance, though. He showed how good he was.
All in all, Usyk keeps his cool. As he always does. A fighter and man of enviable worth, he can be content that he is undoubtedly the best active heavyweight on the planet. Only Tyson Fury – apparently in the midst of retirement – could argue with that.
Fury predictably posted a video of himself declaring that he plans to return, if the money is right. It was a match that sport wanted but Gypsy King’s incessant contradictions were becoming increasingly tiresome. Retire, or don’t. But, please, spare us the melodrama while you make up your mind.
Right now, Usyk leads them all. In and out of the ring, he proved himself as the king.