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Monday, July 15, 2024

Usyk defeats Fury and emerges undisputed heavyweight champion

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Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury in Riyadh on Saturday to become boxing’s first undisputed four-belt heavyweight champion.

Dubbed the “Ring of Fire,” the memorable show put on by the two fighters was ultimately won by Usyk after a combative ninth-round demolition of Fury. Usyk, by virtue of a split decision points victory on Saturday night, took the WBC belt from Fury, adding it to his WBA, WBO and IBF belts.

Fury, 35, was on his feet and the bell saved him from a technical knockout.

All three judges scored the fight 115-112, 113-114 and 114-113, with Usyk winning a 2-1 split decision. Fury immediately disagreed with the verdict and maintained that he won more rounds. “I think I won that fight. He won some rounds, but I won more. Make no mistake, I won that fight and I will be back,” said the British fighter in the post-fight interview.

Both fighters entered the ring with undefeated records, and Fury initially appeared to have the advantage, using his greater reach to keep the 37-year-old Usyk at bay. However, Fury’s collapse in the ninth round gave the Ukrainian the advantage. “Thank you very much to my team. “It is a great opportunity for my family and my country,” Usyk shouted afterwards.

Fury demanded a rematch, which is included in the fight clause, and suggested October as a date. “We go back to our families and execute it in October. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses,” Fury said, with his promoter Frank Warren supporting the call. “It’s what Tyson wants; The clause in the contract says ‘immediate revenge.’” Usyk responded: “Yes, of course. “I’m ready for a rematch.”

Fury won the first round despite some fanfare, but Usyk came back strong in the second round with some two-punch combos. Usyk’s strategy was to attack from below and throw punches overhead, especially with his left hand. Fury was dominant in the third and fourth rounds, exuding confidence as he fended off any sustained attacks. Usyk suffered a cut above his right eye in the fourth round after a clash of heads.

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Fury stepped up in the fifth and sixth rounds, landing hooks and staying in the lead. The seventh and eighth rounds were close, but Fury still had the advantage. However, everything fell apart for the Briton in the ninth round.

Usyk completely dominated Fury, who was stumbling around the ring. The referee ordered a knockdown and gave Fury a standing count, but somehow, Fury survived the assault. However, he never regained the lost lead. Usyk remained on the attack until the end of the match, as Fury struggled to find his rhythm.

After Usyk was declared the winner, former champion and fellow Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko expressed surprise that Fury survived the ninth round. “Oleksandr showed that he is the best fighter in modern history. When you count points, you can’t be 100 percent sure in boxing. The judges ruled that Oleksandr deserved that fight.

READ ALSO: Boxing preview: Fury, Usyk ready for historic fight, who takes the big crown from him?

“Excellent performance by both fighters. I’m surprised Tyson Fury made it to the bottom of the ninth; let’s give him respect. The most important thing is that Oleksandr stood his ground and did what he had to do,” Klitschko added.

Now, we wait for the second part of the gripping drama.

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