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Oleksandr Usyk drops Tyson Fury on way to becoming undisputed world heavyweight champion

Usyk drops Fury on way to becoming undisputed champion
© Reuters
Oleksandr Usyk edges out Tyson Fury by split-decision to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Oleksandr Usyk has dropped Tyson Fury on the way to becoming the first undisputed world heavyweight champion in 24 years.

Many felt that Fury - the WBC champion - could use his size advantage to nullify any threat from IBF, WBA and WBO title holder Usyk, potentially making it an uneventful fight.

Instead, the clash in Saudi Arabia lived up to its billing, with Fury seemingly being in control of the fight at the halfway stage before Usyk incredibly turned it on its head with a ninth-round knockdown.

Although Fury was fortunate to avoid the contest being stopped, the scorecards could not save him as Usyk took 115-112 and 114-113 verdicts, with the other going in the favour of Fury 114-113.

The Ukrainian becomes the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis in 2000, but all the world title belts will not be on the line in an October rematch, the IBF crown soon to become vacant.

Oleksandr Usyk on the way to dropping Tyson Fury on May 18, 2024.© Reuters

How did the fight pan out?

Fury has shown some outlandish behaviour during his career but he made a mockery of the occasion with numerous acts of showboating during the first round, one which Usyk dominated to show his opponent that the size difference may not matter.

Usyk definitely held an early lead during what was an absorbing encounter, yet the Briton really came into his own through rounds four to six, to the point where Usyk looked like being stopped for the first time in his career.

The body shots were proving as effective as Fury had envisaged, and it helped lull Usyk into a position where he walked onto the end of a huge uppercut that appeared to put the fight firmly in Fury's favour.

Miraculously, though, Usyk recovered in round seven and began to lay siege to his 35-year-old opponent in a calculated manner before detonating a left hand that left Fury sprawled on the ropes.

For what appeared like a small eternity, the 37-year-old battered Fury around the ring, leaving him unable to stand without the aid of the ropes and there being an inevitability about a stoppage, with the referee not taking that viewpoint once a 10-count was finally given.

Such was the effort of Usyk that he appeared to take the 10th round off, Fury benefitting the most from the brief respite and the eventual loser deserves praise for how he negotiated the final six minutes, perhaps aware he was at risk of losing his unbeaten record.

Albeit a rare occurrence in boxing, a draw would have felt fair, but none of the three judges saw things that way, with Usyk getting the nod in what is highly likely to be the first of two fights between these pair.

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Tyson Fury confronting Oleksandr Usyk on December 3, 2022.
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