Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua

Oleksandr Usyk celebrates with the flag of Ukraine his heavyweight victory over Briton Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Francois Nel | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Oleksandr Usyk scored his second consecutive victory over Anthony Joshua to defend his unified WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles in an epic 12-round bout.

Usyk won by split decision at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, winning 116-112 and 115-113 respectively on the cards of Ukrainian Viktor Fesechko and Briton Steve Gray. Glenn Feldman of the USA beat Joshua 115-113.

The result infuriated Joshua. He picked up two championship belts and threw them out of the ring before leaving briefly.

Joshua then returned to grab the microphone and vent his emotions passionately.

“I stole that Mustache, I’m sorry, but it’s because of the passion we put into it,” Joshua told the crowd during his two-minute speech.

Usyk holds three of the four major heavyweight belts. One is missing from his collection. Tyson Fury, allegedly retired, still holds the WBC title. This is the only fight Usyk is interested in.

“I’m sure Tyson Fury hasn’t retired yet,” the champion said. “I am sure, I am convinced that he wants to fight me.

How the champion Usyk fought back the greatly recovered Joshua

Usyk has indeed had to endure tremendous pressure from the relentless Joshua, who has shown a vastly improved game since their first fight back in September.

Last year, after just two professional heavyweight bouts, Usyk beat Joshua in London brilliantly. A former undisputed heavyweight champion, Usyk has established himself today as one of the best fighters in the world, regardless of weight class.

Joshua immediately set up a rematch, determined to regain his place in the top tier heavyweight division. To this end, he brought in a new coach, Robert Garcia, who joined Angel Fernandez in his corner and devoted himself to correcting the mistakes he had made in the first fight.

Joshua lost ahead of Usyk but avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz during his first visit to Saudi Arabia in 2019. He fought to become a three-time heavyweight champion and knew his legacy depended on winning tonight.

Both fighters were under a lot of pressure ahead of this championship fight. Neither of them could contemplate defeat.

The start was tense. Usyk let his southpaw jab flicker, sometimes feinting, sometimes landing. He missed a fast cross and blocked Joshua’s right hand well. However, Joshua got on his front foot, landing a right hook to the body and leaning as the Ukrainian came close.

Oleksandr Usyk right-handed Anthony Joshua during their heavyweight bout dubbed “Rage on the Red Sea” in Saudi Arabia on August 20.

Francois Nel | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

He continued this attention to the body, plunging his right into the body whenever he could and seeing an opening allowing him to shoot in the head.

But Usyk remained elusive, shrugging off further blows and parrying a larger opponent.

Joshua threw his punches with weight behind his back, they were heavy even when Usyk took them on his gloves or elbows.

He became more confident, allowing his punches to fall harder in the fourth round. He was looking for Usyk when he threatened with uppercuts. The Ukrainian completed this round with an excellent left cross.

The pace accelerated on the fifth

The pace picked up in the fifth round, only for a brief pause when Joshua landed an uppercut from the waist down. Joshua continued this attack to the torso and hit hard to the body with the right. Usyk tried to dissuade him by hitting back with a left as Joshua entered.

The challenger now, Joshua, continued to put pressure on Usyk, getting into the fight much more willingly than in their first fight. His right missed, but he clipped Usyk with a good left hook. Joshua dug into the body, and Usyk had to stay on his back leg.

However, Usyk marked it around his right eye.

The fight was tight for the first six rounds. From time to time the speed of Usyk’s hands showed, his left sniper shot hit Joshua through the holes.

Usyk speaks to reporters after beating Anthony Joshua at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Francois Nel | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

In the eighth round, Joshua landed a reassuring left hook to the body. Usyk returned to him, probing Joshua with a combination of punches. When Usyk hit him in the head, Joshua landed a right hand to hit Usyk.

Joshua started to fight in the ninth round. He eventually got Usyk into the ropes and Joshua continued to press, hammering the Ukrainian with heavy hooks. He took a horrible body shot and a smile spread across Joshua’s face. He was going to capture momentum in his path.

Yet Usyk changed the fight again. He increased the pace surprisingly in the next round. He stunned Joshua with an accurate right hook. He unloaded with hard lefts and pushed Joshua back step by step. A heavy right hit Usyk in the chin, but he took it and continued his attack, landing punches on Joshua as the 10th round ended.

Usyk handled the pressure and Joshua knew he needed to find something special in the final round. He tried valiantly, again delivering strong blows to the head. But Usyk kept his feet under him and continued to move, working well even without the ropes. He closed the fight like a champion without giving up in the 12th round.

It was Usyk who finished strong, landing heavy counters against Joshua to close the final seconds of the fight.

The decision was closer than expected, but Usyk was a worthy winner.

Joshua vents his emotions

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