'Holy hell': Boxing world in disbelief over Anthony Joshua shocker

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·Sports Editor
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Anthony Joshua, pictured here suffering just his second loss in professional boxing.
Anthony Joshua suffered just his second loss in professional boxing. Image: Getty

Oleksandr Usyk has shocked the boxing world, ending Anthony Joshua’s second reign as world heavyweight champion.

Usyk scored a unanimous points win in just his third fight since stepping up from the cruiserweight division on Saturday, becoming the third man to win world titles at cruiserweight then heavyweight.

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Six years after Wladimir Klitschko’s long heavyweight reign ended, Ukraine has another champion in boxing’s marquee division.

Joshua couldn't cope with Usyk’s superior reflexes and punching power, especially off his left, and ended the fight slumped on the ropes after a flurry of fast punches by the mandatory challenger to his WBO belt.

Usyk also took Joshua’s WBA and IBF titles, while Joshua has a rematch clause in the deal.

The judges scored the fight 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113, and Joshua appeared to accept the result as he walked over to Usyk’s corner.

Usyk stepped up to heavyweight in 2019 after unifying all the cruiserweight belts, and now has 19 straight wins as a professional.

His energy levels were remarkable as he piled the punches on Joshua in a dominant final round. 

The champion looked helpless in the last seconds as he leant against the ropes and simply smiled.

As the final bell rang, Usyk dropped to his knees and looked to the London sky as more than 62,000 spectators inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium appeared to gasp.

Oleksandr Usyk, pictured here celebrating after defeating Anthony Joshua.
Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after defeating Anthony Joshua. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Boxing world erupts over Usyk-Joshua blockbuster

Usyk then entertained the crowd with an acrobatic dance inside the ring.

“This means a lot to me,” Usyk said. “The fight went exactly the way I expected it to go.

“There were times when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special.

“I’ve been working so hard since January. It took me some half a year.

“You didn’t see the best Usyk. I can be much better.”

Joshua fell to the second loss of his 25-fight pro career, after a defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in New York that he immediately avenged in Saudi Arabia.

Boxing fans and commentators were left in disbelief at the result.

Journalist Barry Anderson said Usyk’s display was “one of the most intelligent bouts of boxing I’ve ever seen” while Yahoo Sports combat reporter Kevin Iole called it an “unreal fight”.

with Associated Press

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