Oleksandr Usyk Makes History, Wins Undisputed Heavyweight Title in Thriller

Oleksander Usyk
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksander Usyk, IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Title, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. 25 September 2021 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing. Winner Oleksander Usyk with his belts.

After twenty-five years without an undisputed heavyweight title fight, Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk met in Saudi Arabia to produce the first ever undisputed HW champion in the four-belt era.

Dominant performances against Anthony Joshua turned Oleksandr Usyk from an undisputed cruiserweight champion to a three-belt heavyweight champion and global star. The former Olympic champion then set his sights on Fury.

Tyson Fury, one of the biggest stars in boxing today, had underwhelmed in his fights since his epic trilogy with Deontay Wilder, but with his massive size advantage he still remained a slight favorite over his Ukranian foe on Saturday. On this occasion the oddsmakers were wrong however, and Usyk handed ‘the Gypsy King’ his first loss as a professional.

The first round of the fight was a feeling out process, as is often the case in boxing title fights. Fury engaged in a bit of showmanship at one point, dancing while holding the ropes. Usyk just walked away. The last thirty seconds of the round saw Oleksandr land the best punches of the round including a good overhand left that surely won the round for him.

The second round started with another big land for Usyk, shaking the confidence of the unflappable Brit. The Ukrainian continued to walk him down with extraordinarily high level boxing that let him land and avoid most returns. Late in the round Fury found some of his mojo though, especially when punching the body.

Usyk decided to give Fury a taste of his own medicine to start round three, as this time when he walked Fury down he targeted the body far more than before. Through three rounds Usyk refused to give Fury any space to breathe, constantly in his face. Fury begin trying to put his weight on Usyk in the clinch in this round, but Usyk stayed competitive there.

Fury came out the gate in round four with heavy body shots, trying to push Usyk back. Halfway through the round Fury did land his best fight of the night, making Usyk stumble with a right hand through his guard, but Usyk recovered quickly, clearly more off-balance than truly hurt. The fourth round was the first round where Tyson Fury looked like he had established a clear lead. Usyk fought back hard and the round was super competitive, but Fury may have won his first round of the fight in the fourth.

Fury’s straight right hand found the mark several times in round five and he began to use his power to back Usyk off, especially targeting the body. Usyk’s aggression worked against him somewhat, as his defense suffered when he tried to enforce such a high offensive pace. The fifth was another clear Fury round.

Halfway through round six Fury landed a bug uppercut that staggered Usyk. For the first time Oleksandr was on the back foot, retreating to recover. Tyson did not press the page though and let Usyk gather himself. Usyk got out of the round but he looked like he had lost all control of the fight.

Fury’s workrate slowed a bit in the seventh round as Usyk pressured him, but Tyson still had a good feel for timing his foe and landed several good right hands. Usyk got back to his own body work and landed the best combination of the round in the final fifteen seconds.

Fury came out winging hooks to start round eight but Usyk blocked them. Usyk continued his momentum from the last round and put hands on Tyson early, to the head and body both. Halfway through the round Usyk landed his best combo of the fight, a left and right hook that sent Fury backwards. He continued to snap Tyson’s head back for the rest of the round. By the end of the eighth, Fury’s head was beginning to bruise badly.

Fury refused to concede the backfoot so easily in the ninth round, but Usyk still eventually forced his back up to the ropes. Fury seemed to have regained some energy, but it was not enough as Usyk again landed several good left hands. Fury came right back at him with a clean right to the body and head. But that only got the Ukrainian off him for a few moments before Usyk reinstated his assault. In the final minute of the round Usyk changed everything by rocking Fury over and over again. He barely survived the round and got a standing 8-count called as he snagged against the ropes, but lived to fight in the tenth.

With more momentum than ever before, Usyk came out and walked Tyson Fury down to begin the third to last round. He mixed it up to the head and body and did not get overzealous, which could open the door for Fury to land a big, fight changing shot. Fury landed one good uppercut in the final minute, but other than that he could hardly land clean. Usyk’s pace slowed some in the tenth, but he still won it clearly.

Usyk blitzed Fury to start the penultimate round, forcing Fury to clinch up. Fury’s energy seemed low, and even Usyk’s pace continued to slow somewhat. Still, Oleksandr marched the big man down constantly for the full three minutes of one of the lower damage rounds of the fight. Usyk landed his biggest punch of the round right at the bell.

The final round began with Fury again on the back foot. He landed a good right hand early but Usyk came right back at him and cracked him repeatedly while trapping Tyson in the corner. Fury had two more big right hands, but Usyk’s durability and pokerface were incredible as he no-sold each one. He rocked Fury in the final thirty seconds with a right hook, and the pair fought hard right up to the bell.

After an amazing fight, the tension did not let out of the arena right away. The two competitors embraced in a show of sportsmanship. It would seem that Usyk won more rounds, plus the knockdown, but judging in boxing can be sketchy at times.

When the scorecards were read, the first judge had it for Usyk, 115-112. The second scored it for Fury, 114-113. The last also had it 114-113, but he had it for Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk made history by bringing home his second undisputed title to Ukraine, having won all four belts in two different divisions.

Official Result: Oleksandr Usyk def. Tyson Fury by Split Decision (115-112, 113-114, 114-113)