Slumped helplessly on the ropes, Anthony Joshua greeted the ultimate bell _ and what he knew was the tip of his second reign as world heavyweight champion _ with a wry smile.
Oleksandr Usyk knew it, too, dropping to his knees and trying to the sky.
In simply his third struggle since stepping up from the cruiserweight division, Usyk delivered a clinic in motion and quick punching to say a unanimous factors win over Joshua in entrance of 66,267 shocked followers inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday.
Usyk grew to become the third man, after Evander Holyfield and David Haye, to win world titles at cruiserweight then heavyweight. Six years after Wladimir Klitschko’s lengthy heavyweight reign ended, Ukraine has one other champion in boxing’s marquee division.
“The struggle went precisely as I anticipated it to go,” Usyk mentioned by a translator. “There have been a few moments when Anthony pushed me exhausting however nothing particular.”
After the judges scored the struggle 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in favor of the 34-year-old Usyk, Joshua _ sporting a closed proper eye _ walked over to Usyk’s nook and congratulated the Ukrainian’s crew.
Dominated by a smaller, lighter and far sooner opponent, Joshua misplaced his WBA, WBO and IBF titles for a second time _ greater than two years after a defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York that he instantly avenged in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua can have the prospect to do the identical factor _ there’s a rematch clause within the cope with Usyk _ in a bid to maintain alive his final purpose: To change into undisputed champion. The British public, who’ve adopted Joshua’s journey from Olympic champion by to world champion, hoped for an all-British struggle towards WBC champion Tyson Fury to unify the 4 belts.
That appears fanciful now, although. Usyk was comfortably the extra assured fighter, his reflexes drawing gasps from the pro-Joshua crowd and his lightning-quick punch off his left hand repeatedly connecting.
Joshua simply didn’t see the punches coming, like within the third spherical when his head was rocked again by a straight left earlier than the Briton wobbled after a left hook flush on the jaw.
Like within the ninth, when one other left from Usyk caught Joshua, who nodded to the challenger because the bell went.
And particularly in a sensational ultimate spherical when the disparity between the fighters was at its greatest as Usyk unleashed a flurry of punches _ from his left and proper _ that noticed Joshua staggering backward onto the ropes. Certainly, he was saved by the bell.
Joshua couldn’t see out of his proper eye from the ninth spherical.
“I had no goal to knock him out as a result of my nook pushed me not to do this,” Usyk mentioned. “At first, I hit him and tried to knock him out however my coach mentioned, `Simply cease and do your job.’”
Usyk stepped as much as heavyweight in 2019 after unifying all of the cruiserweight belts, and now has 19 straight wins as knowledgeable.
His power ranges had been exceptional, as proven within the ultimate spherical after which after the end result was introduced as Usyk _ an eccentric _ entertained the group with an acrobatic dance contained in the ring.
Joshua fell to the second lack of his 25-fight professional profession, this time to a person who adopted him _ only a day later _ as Olympic champion on the London Video games in 2012. His profession is at a crossroads once more.
“I’m not going to be going residence tonight, crying about it,” Joshua mentioned. “As a result of that is warfare. I can’t sulk. That’s losing time.”
And there will probably be a rematch.
“Oh, 100% … 110%,” Joshua mentioned.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, mentioned it should seemingly happen in February or March, and ideally in Britain.