Circa 2019, nobody would have thought a smallish heavyweight who had come up from the cruiserweight division would in a couple of years perch himself at the apex of the most glamorous division in the sport.
At that time, Alexander Usyk had just moved up to fight Chazz Witherspoon, and leviathans like Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua ruled the roost.
But here we are. Usyk ( 20-0, 13 KOs) has just defeated Joshua in a rematch and now holds the IBF, WBA, WBO belts.
THE FIGHT. Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) did well at the get-go, trying to find a home for his long thudding jab.
Usyk, the crafty fighter that he is, landed a few eye catching shots but for the most part, Joshua controlled the action.
Usyk became more active in the fourth, while Joshua did some effective body work.
At the midpoint in the fight I had Joshua ahead by two rounds.
The eighth round was close and action-packed with both men having their moments, but Joshua really came alive in the ninth.
He landed several body shots that had Usyk reeling. Joshua tried his best to exact maximum damage but Usyk wisely clinched and tied him up to stifle his offense.
Unfortunately for Joshua, Usyk exhibited remarkable recuperative powers and in the next round exacted revenge for the pummelling he received.
Usyk landed several combinations that wobbled Joshua and though the latter landed a big right hand, Usyk dominated him in the 10th.
The last two rounds were very entertaining but Usyk edged it with busier hands and activity. Joshua would land a telling blow here and there but Usyk was more consistent with his combinations.
The split decision verdict in favor of Usyk was emblematic of the close nature of the proceedings, but that still spells doom for AJ’s career as he has now lost twice to Usyk leaving him limbo and unable to figure out his nemesis.
BIZARRE. Perhaps all the mixed emotions he was feeling all came to a head post-fight, as Joshua exhibited bizarre behavior.
He threw his belts out of the ring, made his way to the dressing room then went back up the ring.
He then took away some of the spotlight on Usyk by proceeding to grab the mic, make a short speech about why he lost, and then began acting as Usyk’s personal cheerleader.
Not a good look, AJ.
LAST ROUND. It’s on a dear friend who recently turned a milestone, Dr. Gerry Ypil. Happy 50th, bro. Cheers!
August 27, 2022
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