Friday, June 14, 2024

Usyk beat Fury – first undisputed heavyweight boxing champion in 25 years


Oleksander Usyk (left) in action against Tyson Fury in Saturday’s World Championship match to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 1999. Photo: Nick Potts, PA via AP / NTB

Of NTB | 19.05.2024 01:49:32

Culture and entertainment: The 37-year-old Ukrainian won with the judges’ votes 2-1. He claimed his 22nd win in as many pro fights and captured the WBC belt in addition to the three he previously held.

Two of the judges had Usyk as the winner with 115-113 and 114-113 respectively, the third held for Fury with 114-113.

– I thank my entire team. This is big for my family, me and my country. It’s a big day, and of course I’m ready for a rematch, Usyk told DAZN.

Usyk pressured Fury early in the fight and won the first rounds relatively clearly. Then it leveled off. The Briton took command in the 6th round and rocked his Ukrainian opponent with punch combinations.

– I don’t want to tell the referee, but he stole a knockout from us, Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassjuk told DAZN.

Fury rallied and gave Usyk a tough fight until the 12th and final round was over.

– I think I won this match. He won some rounds, but I won more. It was one of the dumbest decisions ever. I’ll be back. I want another fight in October, Fury told DAZN.

The last time a heavyweight boxer was named undisputed champion was when Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999.

Originally, Usyk and Fury were supposed to fight for the title already in February, but the fight was postponed when Fury suffered a cut during training.

The tone has not mellowed between the two camps since then, and in the days leading up to the match in Riyadh there have been a few sparks.

During Friday’s weigh-ins, Fury shoved Usyk, and afterward the two screamed obscenities at each other as people on their teams tried to pull them apart.

– I’m looking for his heart. Forget his belts, it’s his heart I want,” Fury said, according to AFP.

It was even hotter earlier in the week, when Fury’s father John got into an argument with several of Usyk’s helpers. Fury scalped one of them so hard that he himself began to bleed profusely.

In the 9th round, Usyk hit with several punches, and a bleeding Fury staggered around the ring. The referee started the count and he probably would have called Fury out had the Brit not been saved by the gong.

The fight was for all four of the most prestigious championship belts: WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF. Usyk took over the latter three from Briton Anthony Joshua in 2021, while Fury has held the WBC belt since beating American Deontay Wilder four years ago.

– I wish you a speedy recovery. God gave you a sign. Consider retiring, bro, Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassjuk announced sourly on Instagram at the time.

(© NTB)


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