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BOXING: Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua by split decision to retain his heavyweight title

Ukrainian boxer, Oleksandr Usyk has beaten Anthony Joshua to retain his heavyweight world titles by split decision.

Anthony Joshua stunned fans with his bizarre antics after losing to WBA, IBF & WBO heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk for the second time.

Despite an improved performance in the unified world heavyweight title rematch, which took place in Saudi Arabia, Joshua fell short against the slick Ukrainian and lost via split decision.

Fighting 11 months on from their initial encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Usyk majestically dethroned Joshua, each man brought renewed intensity to their rivalry, which reached a sensational crescendo during rounds nine and 10 as the action ebbed back and forth.

By that stage, however, Usyk’s sensational skills had largely negated Joshua’s intelligent body attack and opened up an advantage that was recognised by margins of 116-112 and 115-113 on two scorecards, although judge Glenn Feldman pretty inexplicably gave it to Joshua 115-113.

When his victory was announced, Usyk shed tears before his national flag, having joined in the resistance against the Russian invasion in his homeland between these two seismic triumphs over Joshua. The 35-year-old is now also in possession of the Ring Magazine belt, which was held until his recent retirement by Tyson Fury. The undefeated Briton still holds the WBC crown and that is where Usyk’s attention will now turn, with his status as a modern great already secured.

“I devote this victory to my country!” 💙💛

Oleksandr Usyk’s emotional post-fight interview after a ‘historic’ victory.

Joshua ended the evening with an erratic and profanity-laced, if largely sentimentally sound, address in the middle of the ring that jarringly hogged Usyk’s deserved limelight. But it was the result of what must have become a maddening experience against a genius of the ring.

After his timid defeat in London, Joshua looked to put the work he has done under new trainer Robert Garcia into practice. His work to Usyk’s midriff in round two had an authentically Mexican flavour.

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