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Just 3 Heavyweight Fights, Oleksandr Usyk Becomes Unified World Champion Ahead Joshua, Fury, Wilder

Just 3 Heavyweight Fights, Oleksandr Usyk Becomes Unified World Champion Ahead Joshua, Fury, Wilder

Oleksandr Usyk produced a stunning performance inside the ropes to beat Anthony Joshua and become WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion in a classic first boxing clash at a sold-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

After the eagerly anticipated unification fight with British rival Tyson Fury did not materialise, Joshua was ordered to fight the Ukrainian by the WBO.

‘The Cat’ established himself as the best cruiserweight boxer in the world, collecting all four belts to become the first undisputed champion in the division after 15 fights.

He then elected to move up to the heavyweight division, recording victories over Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora.

And in just his third fight since making the step up, Usyk put on a boxing masterclass against fellow London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Joshua en route to becoming unified world heavyweight champion.

Despite a 19lb weight difference and a significant height disadvantage, he displayed incredible head movement and footwork throughout, as well as punishing Joshua and causing a brutal eye injury with some of the wicked shots he produced.

Usyk won via unanimous decision, with the judges scoring it 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 on the scorecards to give the 34-year-old a historic 19th professional victory and second career defeat for ‘AJ’.

The two served up a fight of the year contender and will go at it again after an automatic rematch clause was agreed in the deal.

In the cruiserweight division that he truly conquered, he beat Krzysztof Głowacki to claim his first world title in Poland, defended against Michael Hunter in the United States, TKO’d Marco Huck in Germany, bested Mairis Briedis in Latvia and then unified the division against Murat Gassiev in front of a intense Moscow crowd in Russia.

‘The Cat’ made history by collecting all four belts to become the first ever undisputed cruiserweight world champion.

There were questions as to whether he was big enough to cut it at heavyweight but those were all answered at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

With his incredible movement and footwork, Usyk boxed tremendously and hurt Joshua on several occasions – causing a swollen eye that meant he could not see from the ninth round onwards according to Eddie Hearn.

One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Usyk absolutely loves to travel and has proved he will take on any challenge presented to him.

Joshua has an automatic rematch clause that he is expected to invoke but you just know that Usyk will not be fazed in the slightest.

 

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