After all the talk of a fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, you can say goodbye to him. Even if the battle finally happened, it wouldn’t be the huge battle it should have been.
Not after Oleksandr Usyk dominated Joshua on Saturday to win the Unified Heavyweight Championship, giving AJ his second loss of his career with an impressive performance inside London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in front of more than 66,000 fans. Not after Ussek looked like he was about to stop Joshua late in the fight, which he would have done if Joshua hadn’t saved the last bell.
It was this performance that made the Ukrainian a star. The 34-year-old Usyk answered every question, displaying heavyweight strength, heavy jawbones and incredible boxing prowess. Even as boxing lost its biggest fight before it happened, the heavyweight division gained a new star on Saturday.
If we’re ever going to see the Super Bowl heavyweight fight with Fury and Joshua, AJ will have to return to Usyk the same way he avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.
I just can’t see what’s going on. Joshua will have a chance at a refund – there is a return clause in the contract that must be activated within 30 days. However, if he really did, Usyk could kill him the second time around. Unlike Ruiz, Usyk will not have an out-of-shape battle. There was nothing strange about this victory.
This boxing was at its best on the part of Usik, who beat Joshua with a punch and was somehow the strongest fighter despite being the much younger guy. Dominant in cruiserweight, Usik became the undisputed 200-pound champ, but looked shaky in his early days in heavyweight, especially in his second division fight, a close victory over Derek Chisora in October.
On Saturday, Usik was anything but shaky. He was light on his feet and used a lot of angles. Joshua hit with left punches and double punches. Joshua’s right eye was badly damaged and it took him a long time to get rid of feces after the fight. His promoter, Eddie Hearn, believed that Joshua’s eye socket could be severely damaged.
“I don’t think it was a great performance from AJ,” Hearn said. “He looked tired as the battle progressed…I think the rematch is very tough, but there’s nowhere to hide.”
Joshua said before the fight that he would practice the rematch clause if he lost, just as he did when he lost to Ruiz. Hearn said after the fight that he was confident Joshua still wanted to rematch, despite his dominance from bell to bell.
What’s clearer: It’s hard to see Joshua returning to his position as one of the two best in the world. It was amazing to see AJ come out light (for him) at 240 pounds and try to beat Usyk with boxing. This would never happen and mentally, he was a defeated and beaten man sitting in his chair. Since he was arrested by Ruiz, his resistance to the blows, and Joshua’s reliance on his chin, was clearly questionable at best.
The heavyweight champions now are Fury and Usic. Fury faces Deontay Wilder for the third time next month, and another victory in turn should have put him in a fantastic showdown with Joshua in Saudi Arabia in 2022 that would earn both fighters a nine-figure wages.
With Joshua defeated, Fury may turn to fellow Briton Dillian White, who has been waiting for his shot at the WBC Heavyweight title for years. This is assuming, of course, that Fury beats Wilder again.
OSIC path explained. He is now one of the top three boxers in the world, along with Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford, and the second best heavyweight in boxing after Fury.
While Usyk made his case second in the heavyweight division, the best fight for him, the Division, and perhaps the sport in general is a showdown with the winner of Fury-Wilder III.