Ukrainian champion retains titles by decision

Was there any doubt that Oleksandr Usyk was really the better man when he beat Anthony Joshua in their first meeting, the Ukrainian knocked them out in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Usyk won the rematch to remain WBO, WBA and IBF Heavyweight Champion at the Jeddah Superdome after 12 hard fought rounds by split decision in a fight where there was truly no doubt that he deserved to be named the victor.

Joshua showed that he had made some real adjustments since their September 2021 clash, fighting in a lower stance and not falling into Usyk’s traps in the opening rounds. That made it difficult for Usyk to get going really early, as he maintained his constant sideways movement, but without the same offensive openings presenting themselves as in the first encounter.

Usyk started changing his game plan from round 4 when he started to understand Joshua’s approach. Instead of allowing Joshua to lead the fight and apply pressure, Usyk started circling more and firing combinations with the intent of hitting Joshua more than hurting him with a single shot. In response to Usyk’s adjustment, Joshua began to fall into the same traps as the first encounter, chasing Usyk and sometimes wildly missing.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Usyk, however, as Joshua himself made a major adjustment and concentrated his attack on Usyk’s body. A steady diet of hooks and uppercuts to the torso slowed Usyk’s movement and opened the head.

This led to Joshua’s biggest moment in the fight – and the most likely chance for him to score a stoppage. On lap 9, Joshua Usyk slammed around the ring and seemed to stun the champion multiple times throughout the frame.

However, Usyk stayed on his feet and showed real championship quality in the last three rounds of the fight. From round 10, Usyk increased his output significantly by tagging Joshua multiple times with heavy shots. Joshua’s lower stance disappeared and he started fighting with very straight, slow legs as Usyk took over and secured a well deserved win.

The official post-fight scorecards read 115-113 and 116-112 for Usyk with one 115-113 card inexplicably turned in for Joshua.

After retaining three of the four recognized World Heavyweight Championships, Usyk was asked the obvious question of whether he intended to become the undisputed champion by going after the WBC title currently held by Tyson Fury. Fury has repeatedly claimed he has retired from boxing, although many believe he can be lured back to the ring with the promise of an undisputed title fight.

“I’m sure Tyson Fury hasn’t retired yet,” Usyk said during his post-fight interview. “I’m convinced that Tyson wants to fight me and I want to fight him. If I don’t fight him, I don’t fight at all. Only God knows if I will or not.”

CBS Sports was with you during the event in Saudi Arabia, so be sure to follow the live results and highlights below.

Usyk vs. Joshua 2 fight card, results

  • Oleksandr defeats Usyk (c). Anthony Joshua via split decision (115-113, 113-115, 116-112)
  • Filip Hrgovic defeats Zhilei Zhang via unanimous decision (115-112, 115-112, 114-113)
  • Callum Smith def. Mathieu Bauderlique via fourth round knockout
  • Badou Jack def. Richard Rivera via split decision (96-94, 94-96, 96-94)

Usyk vs. Joshua 2 Scorecard

Usik (c) 10 9 9 10 10 10 10 9 9 10 10 10 116
Joshua 9 10 10 9 9 9 9 10 10 9 9 9 112

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