Home Boxing News Pundits weigh in on the controversial ninth round between Oleksandr Usyk and...

Pundits weigh in on the controversial ninth round between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury

Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury. Photo credit: AP

The big talking point over Saturday undisputed heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk 22-0 (14) and Tyson Fury 34-1-1 (24) appears to be whether the fight should have been stopped late in the ninth round of their WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine title fight at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 37, broke open the fight in the ninth round when he hammered home and overhand left that rocked Fury and sent him reeling into the ropes.

Usyk jumped on the 35-year-old Brit, following him around the ring and teeing off on his opponent who eventually crashed into the ropes.

Referee Mark Nelson ruled that the ropes were the only thing holding him up and applied a mandatory eight count.

Usyk eventually got the win by split decision by scores of 114-113, 113-114 and 115-112, but not everyone was happy with the way the fight was handled in the ninth.

British heavyweight gatekeeper Derek Chisora, who was ringside for the fight, shouted at Nelson: “Hey ref, ref. You know that was the slowest count in boxing history, bro.

“You get your maths right bro, it’s one, two, three, four, five, six. It is what it is is. It doesn’t matter he got the win, but bro that was the slowest count in boxing history.”

Former cruiserweight champion David Haye, who predicted there would be controversy before the bout, told TNT Sports: “First and foremost, the fight should have got stopped in the ninth round.

“I don’t know why the referee gave a count. I understand they say if the ropes are keeping you up, that means if anybody is on the ropes getting hit the referee should jump in and give you a count.

“I thought the ref should have let him either finish him off or stop the fight. It seemed like a fair and square stoppage from my point of view.

“He was all over the place, he falls over. If it was around the other way, if Tyson Fury was doing this to Usyk the referee would have probably stopped it.

“But for some reason the referee gave him a count and gave him a long 20-second count.

“The referee stopped him from finishing his opportunity. Everybody at ringside was really upset at the referee.”

Renowned broadcaster Al Bernstein posted a video clip of the punch sequence that led to the knockdown call on social media site X and made the following observation: “Rewatching this I’m changing my opinion Mark Nelson. He did save Fury by calling this knockdown at that point.

“Yes, Fury was held up by the ropes after a punch so it was a knockdown, BUT the SAME thing happened about five seconds earlier and he DID NOT call it. He did it here and honestly it looks like a blatant attempt to save Fury.”