Thursday, June 13, 2024

Oleksandr Usyk DEFEATS Tyson Fury via split decision to be crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world – after stunning comeback from the Ukrainian in Saudi Arabia

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Oleksandr Usyk produced a stunning performance to beat Tyson Fury on Saturday night and become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four belt era. 

The judges on the night scored the bout 115-112 Usyk, 114-113 Fury and 114-113 Usyk to see the Ukrainian win via split-decision. 

It was a tale of two halves at the Kingdom Arena, after Fury dominated the opening rounds before Usyk came back to control the fight with a flurry of punches in the ninth round leaving the Gypsy King floundering. 

After the final round, there was mutual respect between the two fighters who exchanged kisses and hugs as they awaited the result.

However, Fury’s mood soured when Usyk was named the victor with the British fighter telling an interviewer that ‘people are siding with Usyk because of the Ukraine war’.

Oleksandr Usyk (left) produced a stunning comeback to beat Tyson Fury (right) on Saturday

The Ukrainian had Fury troubled in the ninth round and nearly knocked out the Gypsy King

The Ukrainian had Fury troubled in the ninth round and nearly knocked out the Gypsy King

The victory sees Usyk become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in this century

The victory sees Usyk become the first undisputed heavyweight champion in this century

Fury started the fight well however began to fade as the heavyweight title bout went on

Fury started the fight well however began to fade as the heavyweight title bout went on 

Both men came flying out of the blocks in the opening round, as Fury looked to keep Usyk at distance before targeting the body with some heavy shots.

Usyk however, using his diligent footwork, looked to negate Fury’s reach and get inside by operating on different levels – which eventually paid dividends.

However, in the opening round, Fury was clearly enjoying himself and gestured to the crowd before being caught by the Ukrainian while on the ropes. 

The Gypsy King looked for the uppercut in the second round, missing twice before catching Usyk with 10 seconds left on the clock. The Ukrainian wore it well but certainly felt Fury’s power. 

Usyk then landed a right-left combination in the second before wincing from a powerful body shot from Fury. 

However, the Ukrainian did end the round by getting Fury in the corner and landing a flurry of punches before complaining about his counter-punch landing on the back of the head. 

Then, a clash of heads in the fourth concerned fans that Fury’s cut would open up however Fury didn’t appear to be worried – summoning Usyk on before doing a few Muhammed Ali shuffles. 

Fury appeared to be getting the better of his opponent, as Usyk complained of two low blows in the fifth round before being caught to the body twice. Fury also managed to cut Usyk above his right eye. 

The Gypsy King got the fans excited in the sixth, landing an uppercut that wobbled the Ukrainian before finishing the round with his hands behind his back. 

However, Usyk survived and began to mount an impressive comeback, as he continued to operate on different levels in the eighth to try and close the distance. 

Usyk had seemed troubled at times however overcame the adversity to eventually win the bout

Usyk had seemed troubled at times however overcame the adversity to eventually win the bout

The Gypsy King taunted Usyk throughout the fight despite being second-best on the night

The Gypsy King taunted Usyk throughout the fight despite being second-best on the night

The Ukrainian scored a knockdown in the ninth as Fury found himself held up by the ropes

The Ukrainian scored a knockdown in the ninth as Fury found himself held up by the ropes

Then, the tables turned in the ninth round. Fury was saved by the bell, or perhaps the referee, after going down following a relentless attack from Usyk. 

The Ukrainian drew upon energy that Fury did not think remained, after dominating earlier, and stunned the British heavyweight with some powerful combinations. 

Usyk then continued the charge in the 10th and asserted his dominance over the British star as he continued to set the pace and keep Fury on the back-foot.

Following the tenth, both men showed signs of fatigue after putting everything they had into what can only be described as an excellent fight. 

It was an all out war for the final round, with the judges scoring it 115-112 Usyk, 114-113 Fury and 114-113 Usyk. 

After the fight, Fury claimed ‘people are siding with Usyk because of the Ukraine war’ following his split-decision defeat.

‘I believe I won that fight,’ he said on TNT Sports Box Office’s live broadcast of the fight. 

Usyk and his team stand with his four heavyweight belts after the triumphant victory

Usyk and his team stand with his four heavyweight belts after the triumphant victory

Meanwhile, Fury made the stunning claim that 'people are siding with the country at war'

Meanwhile, Fury made the stunning claim that ‘people are siding with the country at war’

‘And I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority of them. I believe we both put on a good fight – best we could do. 

‘And, you know, his country is at war. People are siding with the country at war. Make no mistake, I won that fight in my opinion.’ 

Usyk’s trainer, Alexander Krassyuk, evidently did not agree with Fury’s claims as he insisted that the Ukrainian was robbed of a knockout in the ninth round. 

Krassyuk said: ‘I’m exhausted, I was backing Usyk all fight. No disrespect to the referee but I think he stopped a KO in the ninth but anyway it was a tremendous performance. 

‘It was unbelievable and I hope to see more in the rematch.’

Shortly after the decision, fans gave their support to the Brit on social media, with some claiming he was wronged on the scorecards.

‘Tyson Fury got robbed,’ one fan posted on X in reaction to the bout. ‘Showed a heart of a lion.’

Another wrote: ‘Fury 115 Usyk 144 – Fury robbed but Usyk brilliant!’

Cristiano Ronaldo (middle) was situated on the front row, sat next to Anthony Joshua (left)

Cristiano Ronaldo (middle) was situated on the front row, sat next to Anthony Joshua (left)

A number of sport’s biggest stars were seen in attendance on the night – with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Joshua and Neymar all watching on. 

Ronaldo, who currently plays for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, has been a regular at big fights in Saudi Arabia and continued that trend on Saturday.

Sat alongside Joshua for the big fight, the footballer was a large focus of attention as the build to the main event continued inside the Kingdom Arena.

Before the main event got underway, the 39-year-old was approached by former rival and fellow football superstar Neymar, and the two engaged in a brief conversation before embracing.

In an exclusive interview with Mail Sport in the build-up to the fight, Usyk said that he wants to give back to those who have suffered from the war in his home country.

Usyk previously said that he wants to give back to those who have suffered from the war

Usyk previously said that he wants to give back to those who have suffered from the war 

His charity, the Usyk foundation, have launched a major fundraising campaign to raise 1million EUR to purchase 50 ambulances to save Ukrainian lives amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Speaking on the conflict he said: ‘My everyday routine begins with picking up the phone and reading the news about how many rockets have landed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other cities today.

‘Every morning I check to see if all of my friends and loved ones are alive and pray for their safety. And this is how millions of Ukrainians start their day.

‘Before the undisputed fight, I received many words of support from all over the world. Those words inspire and motivate me.’

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