Anthony Joshua versus Oleksandr Usyk 2 – Usyk Wants Fury or Nothing after Beating Joshua
By the ninth round of this current showdown between the two big guns for the unified heavyweight titles in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Anthony Joshua seemed to have realized the fact that he needed to come up with something dramatic and outrageous to let the world know what he’s made of.
In fact, this is precisely what Joshua did. He came out blistering Usyk, ripping Usyk with his savage body shots with all his will and might. He battered Usyk with his straight right hands and a left hook just like he had outdone many others the same way, but Usyk somehow survived.
Usyk began the tenth round with a four-punch combination, showing every bit of prowess and determination as Joshua had showcased in the ninth.
This might leave you wondering what could be the decisive factor leading to Usyk’s ultimate victory. Well, Usyk carried the same fervor and fury in the eleventh and twelfth rounds, dominating Anthony Joshua with his tempo. So, when the scorecards were read, everyone saw Usyk winning the much-hyped rematch with a split decision, retaining his IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles.
In AJ’s favour, Judge Glenn Feldman enigmatically scored the bout 115-113. But Judge Victor Fesechko and Steve Gray had it 115-113 for Usyk. And Steve Gray had it 116–112 and 115–113, respectively.
Even Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, couldn’t resist praising Oleksandr Usyk for the feat. He said:
“That 10th round was one of the best I’ve seen. It turned the fight around. What he did in the 10th, 11th and 12th was incredible. That was the difference.”
Anthony Joshua versus Oleksandr Usyk 2 – Round-by-Round Review
At RDX Sports, we take this opportunity to go in-depth on what led to Usyk’s remarkable victory, reviewing the match round-by-round.
Round 1, Usyk 10–9
1st round, the feeling-out round went to Usyk. Much like how it did in their earlier meeting. Usyk resorted to plenty of jabs and movement, confining Joshua in doing much. However, AJ succeeded in landing a handful of body shots, inclined more to using his size than anything else at that moment.
Round 2, Joshua 10–9
A sharp right hand in the closing second helped Joshua win the second round. He successfully landed plenty of shots, focusing strongly on Usyk’s body.
Round 3, Joshua 10–9
AJ grew in two aspects more than others by this round, patience and physicality. For instance, his extra body shots to Usyk in the clinch. On the contrary, Usyk seemed to be moving forward in the same gear, not throwing many power shots.
Round 4, Usyk 10–9
Usyk returned much nimble and alive in the 4th round, darting in and out seamlessly to find the best angles to land his shots. Not only that, he started frustrating Joshua by successfully evading his big right uppercut. Things definitely started heating at this stage.
Round 5, Usyk 10–9
Usyk was slowly but surely finding his lost rhythm by now. Not only was he dodging AJ’s body shots, but he also landed him a few sharp left hands in the process. All this energy and agility on Usyk’s part seemed to push AJ back to the ring time and again.
Round 6, Usyk 10–9
Joshua seemed to respond well in this round by pinning Usyk on ropes with his nice sequence, unloading a bunch of body shots to be followed by a combo upstairs. But it wasn’t just enough to outplay the champ, who came back even better, landing more punches than Joshua could and staying out of his range for the most part.
Round 7, Usyk 10–9
By the 7th round, Joshua was seen applying pressure without backing it with the flurry of punches needed to make much difference. On the other hand, the champ still dictated the terms, landing way more combos than Joshua’s mostly pawing shots.
Round 8, Joshua 10–9
Joshua finally displayed some excellent bodywork. Before unloading to Usyk’s head, the challenger connected a few sharp right hands to his midsection. This solid rebuttal helped Joshua convince judges to give him the round 10–9, which he needed pretty badly.
Round 9, Joshua 10–9
Joshua seemed to be causing some severe troubles to Usyk by this round. Usyk seemed to be hurt badly by AJ’s strong body shots before he unleashed a burst of them on his head. It seemed like Joshua was gaining in on Usyk finally.
Round 10, Usyk 10–9
While AJ dominated the clash visibly in the 8th and 9th rounds, the champ returned even better in the 10th round. On a rare occasion, Joshua fended Usyk off with a hard counter right. Otherwise, the champ’s power combos forced AJ let his hands go every now and then.
Round 11, Usyk 10–9
Joshua found some solace with his solid body shots again in this round, but Usyk outsmarted him by far. He continued to slide around the challenger successfully, connecting to his head over and over, making it pretty evident who was in charge.
Round 12, Usyk 10–9
AJ surely had some of the biggest moments of the bout in the last round, pressing hard for the KO with a bunch of really powerful shots. But the champ continued coming back at him with ferocity, absorbing the impact of his shots, closing the fight strappingly.
While Joshua fought significantly better than in his last fight in London last September, the Brit was still second best in Jeddah, and the Ukrainian again produced a performance worthy of a world champion.
Summing Anthony Joshua versus Oleksandr Usyk 2 Up: An Outburst and a Challenge
However, after the results were announced, Joshua threw the belts on the floor and then gave an emotional and somewhat strange speech in the ring in which he addressed the critics.
“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion,” he said after grabbing a microphone in the ring. “I ain’t no amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from youth. I was going to jail, I got bail and I started training my arse off, I wanted to be able to fight.
“I’m stealing this Usyk. I’m sorry, but it’s because of the passion we put into this. This guy to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the level of hard work I put in, so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world.”
“I’m not a 12 round fighter. Look at me, I’m a new breed of heavyweights, Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, ‘you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano’, I’m 18 stone, I’m heavy, it’s hard work. This guy here is a phenomenal talent. We’re going to cheer for him three times.”
Prior to his odd outburst, he had also exchanged words with Usyk in the ring: “Skills win boxing, you’re not strong, how did you beat me? I had character!”
To be honest, we’re still unable to make much of AJ’s outburst. Hopefully, things get clearer as the days go by, with Joshua letting people in on what went through his mind at the exact moment.
For now, the only belt Usyk doesn’t hold is the one Tyson Fury carries, WBC heavyweight champion. Fury announced his retirement in April, right after overpowering Dillian Whyte. But about two weeks ago, he unretired for a couple of days, only to announce his retirement again.
According to Usyk, he’ll continue to fight only if he gets the Fury’s fight. If not, he doesn’t plan on continuing fighting.
“I’m sure Tyson Fury is not retired yet, and I’m sure he wants to fight me,” Usyk said. “I want to fight him. But if I am not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”