Anthony Joshua could have few arguments at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after being outclassed by Oleksandr Usyk, who claimed a unanimous decision win
Anthony Joshua has lost his unified world heavyweight title for a second time after suffering a shock defeat to Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk won by a unanimous decision to stun Joshua and his fans among the 60,000 crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Few can question the judges’ scoring and Usyk won 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113.
The former undisputed cruiserweight world champion deserved to emulate the likes of David Haye and Evander Holyfield by reigning at two weights and he executed his game plan perfectly.
Usyk wanted to turn this fight into a chess match and that is exactly what he did.
The contest lacked the action and excitement of previous Joshua fights and that is just want the Ukrainian planned.
He tied Joshua up for all of the fight and landed the better shots with his left.
He had particular success with his left hook and twice hurt Joshua in the fight.
For Joshua, he must pick up the pieces for a second time since June 2019 when he also lost his WBA Super, IBF and WBO belts to Andy Ruiz Junior.
He will want a rematch to avenge this loss, just as he did against Ruiz Junior, although beating Usyk will be much harder.
Defeat also delays yet again any clash with Tyson Fury and Joshua must first concentrate on getting his belts back before they can meet for the undisputed title.
Fury also has the small matter of his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9.
The opening round was cagey as the fighters felt each other out and Joshua had more success, although Usyk landed a straight left right at the end.
The second was more of the same and this chess-match style suited Usyk better.
Usyk’s patience paid off and he caught Joshua with left hooks in the third and fourth rounds.
Everything was going to plan for Usyk and Joshua needed to step on the gas.
Joshua had some success in the fifth and sixth as he landed a couple of stinging right hands, but he could not cut loose.
Usyk is excellent at judging the distance and he landed another left in the seventh to send Joshua staggering backwards on his heels.
Trainer Rob McCracken became increasingly animated between rounds and he knew Joshua was not in control of this fight.
Usyk demonstrated excellent footwork and head movement and he proved an elusive target for Joshua.
This was not what the Joshua fans among the sell-out 60,000 crowd expected and they cheered every time their man landed to try and urge him on.
Usyk was cut earlier in the fight below his right eye and by the 10th, it began to bleed.
Joshua was also marked below his right eye in a sign of Usyk’s accuracy and it started to swell up.
Joshua tried to walk Usyk down in the 11th and had some success as he unloaded his right hand, but back came Usyk to show what a fine technician he is.
Joshua tried to increase the tempo in the final round, but Usyk responded by countering him and this had proved to be a difficult night’s work.
Usyk pinned Joshua on the ropes at the end of the round as he unloaded and the champion looked ready to go.
He regain his senses and stuck out his tongue in an attempt to show everyone he was not hurt, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.