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Undisputed: Oleksandr Usyk Drops, Edges Fury to Claim Heavyweight Glory

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
Sun, 19 May 2024




Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine dropped and narrowly edged Tyson Fury of the UK, winning by split decision to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila).

Judges' scores: Manuel Oliver Palomo, 115-112 Usyk, Mike Fitzgerald, 114-113 Usyk and Craig Metcalf 114-113 Fury. PhilBoxing had it 115-112 for Usyk.

Usyk started fast, immediately dictating the tempo of the fight showing solid defensive moves and connecting with lefts to Fury's head as Fury tried to showboat his way around. In the 4th round, Fury began to get busy, found his distance, and neutralized Usyk's phantom lefts, connecting with rights to Usyk's head and body.

Fury continued the momentum in the next couple of rounds, at one point buckling Usyk with a body shot in the 6th round. At that point, the adage "A good big man will always beat a good little man" seemed to hold true as Fury, at 6'9", grew bigger by the minute while the 6'3" Usyk was cut down to size.

In round seven, however, Usyk, who has been known to beat the odds throughout his life, turned the tables on Fury. He came back strong, connected with his lefts again, and never relinquished his control of the fight, totally dominating Fury the rest of the night.

In the closing minute of the 9th round, Usyk was hitting Fury from pillar to post with combinations, staggering the Manchester native from end to end of the ring. The ropes prevented Fury from dropping to the canvas, but veteran referee Mark Nelson rightly called for a knockdown. The bell saved Fury from being knocked out.

It was academic from there on as Fury, who famously 'came back from the dead' against Deontay Wilder, apparently lost his sting and was there only to survive Usyk's bombs and combinations.

In the end, speed and skill trumped size and reputation as Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis ruled the division from 1999 to 2000.

Rematch

In the post-fight interview, Tyson Fury said he believed he won the fight and wants an immediate rematch as stipulated in the contract.

Usyk, however, said he wants to go home first and enjoy his victory before thinking about the rematch.

Usyk remains undefeated with 22 wins and 14 KOs, while Fury suffered his first defeat and dropped to 34-1-1, 24 KOs.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.

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