Oleksandr Usyk scored a clear and pretty decisive win over Anthony Joshua today in London, taking the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles on the road, and joining a very short list of fighters who have won real world titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.
Usyk (19-0, 13 KO) won on scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-112. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 117-111 for Usyk.
Joshua (24-2, 22 KO) just got out-classed by a superior boxer in this fight, and he was also the one who was clearly hurt on a couple of occasions, despite being the bigger man and heavier puncher. The 34-year-old Usyk landed a bevy of terrific left hands from his southpaw stance, and those were getting home from round one through round 12, where he actually sealed the deal pretty clearly with an aggressive charge, hammering away at Joshua to end the fight.
Joshua did make some good adjustments in the middle rounds after a fast start from the challenger, but when Usyk made his own adjustments to those adjustments, he pretty much took over the fight. There is no argument to be made that Joshua won here, and AJ himself seemed to pretty clearly know that.
There is also some question as to whether Joshua had some level of eye injury, as he was seated in his corner for quite a while before going to center ring for the official announcement.
“The fight went exactly as I expected it to go. There were a couple of moments where Anthony pushed me hard, but nothing special,” Usyk said via an interpreter. “I had no objective to knock him out. My corner pushed me not to try for that. I hit him hard and tried to knock him out, but my trainer said, ‘Just stop and do your job.’”
With this win, Usyk has silenced all those who had questions about whether or not he had the size and chin to compete at the very top level of the heavyweight division. This is the top level, and he not only won, he won clearly and did damage. There’s no question this man is among the very best fighters on the planet today, and he probably just stamped his ticket to the Hall of Fame someday, too, as very few people in history have done what he’s done as both an amateur and professional.