Saturday, June 22, 2024

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk: Ukrainian becomes undisputed heavyweight champion

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Usyk – a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion – prevailed in a fight of two halves at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena, propelling himself into the conversation to be considered an all-time great.

After a lack of buzz and noise in the arena for the undercard, not unusual for a Saudi card, a crowd of 20,000 that included famous faces such as Cristiano Ronaldo found their voice for the main event.

Usyk – resembling a warrior – made his entrance wearing a striking all-green traditional Ukrainian outfit, his eyes fixated on the ring.

In contrast to Usyk’s sternness, a playful Fury sang and danced to Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero.

He raced to the ring and headed straight to Usyk’s corner and goaded his opponent, to the enjoyment of 2,500 travelling British fans.

As the two champions advanced to the centre of the ring at the chime of the first bell, the painstakingly long wait to crown an undisputed champion was about to end.

Usyk landed a solid left hook and backed Fury into the corner in the first, which the Gypsy King dismissively laughed off.

He responded with two painful-looking uppercuts to Usyk’s midriff in the second. Trainer SugarHill Steward asked Fury for “more body shots” in the corner in between rounds and the fighter obliged.

The height and reach advantage of Fury was posing too much of a puzzle for Usyk to solve, or so it seemed.

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