Oleksandr Usyk has become the new unified heavyweight world champion after beating the titleholder Anthony Joshua with an impressive performance in London.
The Ukrainian put a masterclass performance in front of 65,000 fans inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, outshining the defending champion Joshua over 12 rounds.
The judges’ scorecard – 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 – summarises the new world champion’s performance as all three judges unanimously decide Usyk as the winner.
On the other side of the ring, there was seen a mere shrug of the shoulders from Joshua as the two times champion tasted the second defeat of his professional career.
Having seen a fight with fellow Briton Tyson Fury collapse last summer, Joshua opted to face his WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk instead.
It appeared the easier fight for Joshua, but boxing’s triumphant return to stadium nights was soured for the home crowd by a truly exceptional performance from the challenger.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn while speaking to media said that his fighter might have suffered a broken eye socket and would need to go to the hospital.
“I don’t know if he has broken his eye socket, it doesn’t look great,” he said. “He said he couldn’t see after the ninth round, obviously he was getting tagged a lot as well,” added Hearn.
Joshua left the ring immediately after the loss but later posted a video on Twitter saying, “Keep positive even if the world’s crumbling in front of you! London I love you & thank you each and every time!”
It cannot be anticipated that where Joshua goes from here. There is a rematch clause option that the two times world champion will most likely take.
It was a strange, almost hapless display from Joshua which leaves his legacy as one of the heavyweight greats in ruins.
Aside from the Briton’s long-term career prospects, Joshua versus Fury now appears to be dead.
Fury fights Deontay Wilder next month in Las Vegas and every fight fan’s greatest fear has been realized after the unification bout collapsed last summer.
To begin with, Joshua will have to win his rematch with Usyk which, after Saturday night’s meeting, appears a near-impossible prospect.