Ukrainian boxer Usyk becomes undisputed heavyweight champion


Sunday, 19 May 2024 (11:56 IST)
Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury in a split decision on Sunday to become the first undisputed heavyweight boxing champion in 24 years.
The match between Fury and Usyk, the two best heavyweights in the world, was a long time in the making. It took place at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In a fight that turned in the ninth round, when Usyk nearly ended the bout and scored a knockdown, two judges gave 115-112 and 114-113 to Usyk, while the third gave 114-113 to Fury.
Usyk started quickly but then had to survive while the confident Fury dominated the middle rounds.
Usyk rallied in the final rounds, taking control with a dominant eighth round and appearing revitalized to open the ninth.
In the ninth round, a huge left hand had Fury in trouble, and Usyk sensed he was hurt. Usyk unloaded a barrage of punches with Fury trapped along the ropes. With Fury visibly hurt, the referee ruled a knockdown as the bell sounded to end the round.
The 37-year-old Usyk, a Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist, took the WBC belt from Fury, adding it to his WBA, WBO and IBF collection.
Big opportunity for my country, Usyk says
"Thank you so much for my team," Usyk said after the fight. "Thank you so much, my God, Jesus. Thank you. It’s big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. It's a great day."
Usyk is the first boxer to earn the undisputed title since Lennox Lewis held the honor for five months in 1999 and 2000.
He is also now the lineal heavyweight champion after beating Fury, who defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to earn that distinction.   
Fury: I'll be back
This also means Fury lost for the first time in a 16-year professional career. He will get an opportunity for revenge with a rematch planned for later this October.
"I believe I won the fight, but I'm not going to sit here and cry and make excuses," Fury said in the ring. "I'll be back."

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