Home Boxing News Oleksandr Usyk crowned undisputed champion after close win over Tyson Fury

Oleksandr Usyk crowned undisputed champion after close win over Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Photo credit: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

Boxing has it’s first undisputed heavyweight champion in almost a quarter of century.

Ukrainian southpaw Oleksandr Usyk 22-0 (14) add the WBC strap to his WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine titles with a split decision victory over Tyson Fury 34-1 (24) at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Usyk, 37, started well but by the third round Fury started to find his range. The unified champion pressed forward, but Britain’s Fury, 35, found the range for his clever counters.

Fury was able land the right uppercut and various body shots to great effect and seemed to be controlling the action through six rounds.

But Usyk, in typical fashion, continued to chip away until coming within a whisker of scoring a knockout late in the ninth. A booming overhand left staggered Fury badly and the follow up barrage had him reeling around the ring until he went crashing into the ropes.

Referee Mark Nelson applied the mandatory eight count and Fury escaped the round.

The sniff of victory was enough for Usyk to go on with the job. He peppered Fury with sharp shots from each hand to come home with a wet sail, winning the fight by scores of 114-113, 113-114 and 115-112 to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis.

According to CompuBox, Usyk landed more punches on Fury than any other previous opponent in fights they have tracked, logging 170 connects.

A second fight between the pair is expected around October.

“Of course!” said Usyk when asked about a rematch. “I’m ready for a rematch. Listen. We do a good fight, yes?”

Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk said watching the fight live was a draining experience.

“I’m exhausted,” Krassyuk said. “I was cheering. I was making music the whole fight. But, like no disrespect to the referee, but he I think he saw a KO in the ninth.

“That’s my opinion, but anyway, it was a tremendous performance. It was something unbelievable. And I hope to see even more in the rematch.”

In his post-fight interview Fury congratulated Usyk on the win but didn’t accept defeat, saying he thought two of the judges got it wrong before adding that he he is very much down for a second fight with the two-weight undisputed champion.

“Yeah, for sure,” Fury said. “We go back, have a little rest-up, spend some time with our families and we’ll get it back on in October.

“Like I said, I believe I won the fight, but I’m not going to sit here and cry and make excuses. It was a good fight.”

“That’s what the contract says,” said Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren. “It’s what he wants. It’s his call. It’s Tyson’s call. So whatever he wants to do is up to him. And the clause in the contract says an immediate rematch.”