Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua once again today in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, retaining his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles via split decision over 12 rounds.
Scores were 115-113 and 116-112 in favor of Usyk, with a third card at 115-113 for Joshua, which basically no one out there seems to believe was fair.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KO) definitely faced a better Joshua (24-3, 22 KO) than he did in 2021, but when push came to shove each time, he took Joshua’s best shots, slipped a lot more of them, and out-worked and out-boxed his opponent.
Simply put, Oleksandr Usyk is a better fighter than Anthony Joshua, too smart and clever and tactically sound, too good at making adjustments and making opponents pay for mistakes, and even beyond all that technical stuff, a deeply determined champion who has no time for losing.
At 35, Usyk has done just about all there is for him to do in the boxing world. He’s won Olympic gold, he’s been undisputed cruiserweight world champion, he has won three of four world heavyweight titles.
And that leaves just one thing: The undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. The roadblock there is Tyson Fury, whose repeatedly-announced retirement has still not convinced many people.
Fury still holds the WBC belt, and Usyk says that’s what he wants — and that’s all that he wants.
“I’m sure that Tyson Fury is not retired yet,” he said. “I’m sure, I’m convinced he wants to fight me. I want to fight him, and if I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”
Without a Fury fight, what else could Usyk really be expected to do? What would really “get him up” for a fight? An IBF mandatory defense against Filip Hrgovic? Probably not, no, and that’s no disrespect meant to Hrgovic.
There is one fight to make at heavyweight right now, and it’s Fury vs Usyk. Fury says he’s retired. If he means it, then it sounds like Oleksandr Usyk might be, too.