Joshua, a strong 31-year-old London boxer and one of the greatest boxing stars in the world, advanced to the final defending his heavyweight title against Alexander Usik, the younger, more agile judge. The challenger steps forward when the bell rings.
However, Usik closed the event.
Usyak, 34, an unbeaten Ukrainian from London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, rushed left and right, calming the crowd. At the end of 12, Usyak staggered his left hand, and two-handed bangs sent Joshua through the ropes near the final bell.
That energetic finale saw Usyak win unanimously in a battle that most observers expected to lose. The judges challenged 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 for Usyak.
The result convinced around 70,000 spectators, most of whom supported Joshua by singing unanimously in the opening round. But that didn’t surprise Usyak, the former undisputed heavyweight champion who rose to the heavyweight division in 2019.
“The fight went exactly as I expected,” said Usik. “There were times when Anthony pushed me, but nothing special.”
Joshua entered the game with a natural size advantage – he stood 6 feet – 6 compared to 6 feet – 3 for Usyak, and at 240 pounds he surpassed the challenger by more than 18 kilograms. He has also hosted the heavyweight championships of four different boxing federations: World Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization, International Boxing Federation, and International Boxing Organization.
But counting south Paw Usik showed better footwork and won the first three rounds, finding the best angle and then landing a shot: right to left, which caught Joshua’s eye in Round 1; On the left side of the head that bends Joshua’s knee in the third. Usik said his initial success made him more depressed, but then he remembered his game plan.
“At first I hit him hard and tried to push him out,” said Usyak. “But then my coach told you to stop and do your job.”
Joshua won in the midst of battle, relying on his punches and body, gaining strength to increase his accuracy, and carrying a hammer. On the 10th there are red spots under each eye and a branch on his right eyebrow. Joshua’s right eye was also swollen so that it became an easy target for Usyak’s left hand.
As the leader of the fight, Joshua and his supporters described the event as celebratory – the first stadium show and the UK’s most-attended boxing event since the coronavirus pandemic began. He also presented it as a kind of formality. Joshua only clashed with Usik because the World Boxing Organization had declared the fight, and in a boxing match, Joshua and his promoter revealed the match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder with the nine-year-old winner. The fight is scheduled for October.
A big heavyweight fight would make financial sense. Joshua attracted a large audience. He has 12.9 million followers on his Instagram account, and the title he won through Wladimir Klitschko attracted 90,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium in London in April 2017.
However, Usyak’s victory made the promoters have to rethink their plans.
Shortly after the match, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said the former champion would now exercise his contract rights for an immediate rematch.
“For me it goes straight to the rematch,” Hearn said. “But he had to take something else with him.”
But Usik told an interviewer in the ring that he hasn’t seen his children for months and he needs time with family.
He said: “Right now I’m not thinking about the game anymore.