Home Sports Boxing Usyk is world undisputed heavyweight champ, first time in 25 years

Usyk is world undisputed heavyweight champ, first time in 25 years

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For the first time in 25 years, boxing produced an undisputed world heavy champion on Sunday when Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk beat British Tyson Fury by split decision.

The Ukraine now holds the World Boxing Association (Super), International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organisation and World Boxing Council titles. Lennox Lewis was the last undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1999.

The Mirror reports that Usyk toppled Fury at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with a stirring second-half comeback.

At the end of the 12 rounds, the judges’ decision was: 115-112 to Usyk, 114-113 to Fury and 114-113 to Usyk.

Fury dominated the first half of the fight, belying the magnitude of the night by clowning around at every opportunity.

But Usyk made a stirring comeback in the desert, forcing the referee to issue a count when only the ropes held his rival up in the ninth round.

Accordingly, Fury struggled to regain the momentum and would have been the happier of the two men to hear the final bell.

But his relief was short-lived as Usyk was announced the winner – and the division’s undisputed ruler.

The British, who was making the fourth defence of his world title, had weighed in 40 pounds heavier than bid rival and also enjoyed a six-inch height advantage.

He towered over Usyk as they touched gloves, telling the smaller man he was “going to school”.

Despite the occasion, Fury was in a playful mood from the first bell, taunting Usyk by lying back on the ropes. He then repeatedly punched himself in the head, beckoning his rival on.

Usyk landed a one-two at the start of the second round as Fury began to target the body – before punctuating the three minutes with an uppercut.

Fury was content to box on the back foot but began to use his size to lean on Usyk.

He switched to southpaw in the fourth round and prematurely raised his hands in victory after landing a back hand.

Such was Fury’s reach advantage that Usyk was at times struggling to close the distance.

Fury whipped in hooks to either side of the Ukrainian’s midriff as the former cruiserweight champion showed the first signs of struggle.

By the sixth round Fury looked to be in complete control as Usyk began to tire. Now the British was on the front foot as his rival backtracked and he reached the halfway mark with his hands behind his back.

Superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and British-Nigerian former world heavyweight champions, Anthony Joshua had the best seats in the house alongside boxing’s new power broker Turki Alalshikh.

Former England football captain, Steven Gerrard paid a visit to Fury’s dressing room before the first bell while Brazilian superstar Neymar also made an appearance.

And they would have enjoyed Fury’s performance in front of 28,000 fans, including a travelling contingent of Fury’s loyalists.

But Usyk was never going to lie down easily and returned fire in the seventh round with two left-hand reminders.

Fury was alive to the threat however and immediately answered back.

Usyk increased his urgency in the eighth round as he chased down his fellow champion, appearing to demand he meet him for a fire-fight.

It was Usyk’s best round of the fight as he roared back into contention, landing a left-hand flush.

And he put his foot on the gas in the next round when a left hand against the ropes left Fury stunned.

Fury staggered around the ring as Usyk rushed after him and with only the ropes holding him up, the referee issued him a count.

The bell sounded to ensure Fury could fight on but Usyk smelled blood.

Fury had been down seven times before in his career and recovered each time but he looked vulnerable.

But that did not stop him showboating in the corner in an attempt to prove he wasn’t still stunned.

Fury had regained his composure by the penultimate round but the momentum was with Usyk as he flashed in a right hand.

A left hand against the ropes worried Fury again as Usyk looked to close the show.

The result was up in the air as the bell sounded for the final round but neither man was prepared to go for broke.

Fury landed the final telling blow but the result was left in the judges’ hands, The Mirror noted.

Fury has called for a rematch as stipulated in the fight terms.

Source: The Mirror/Sunday PUNCH 

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