Oleksandr Usyk v Daniel Dubois: 'Distraught’ Briton's team to lobby for rematch or no contest

Oleksandr Usyk winces in pain as Dubois watches on
Dubois floored champion Usyk in the fifth round but it was declared a low blow by referee

Reporters waited in the press room of Wroclaw's Tarczynski Arena, but a distraught Daniel Dubois was a no show, opting to head straight back to the hotel.

On another day, with another referee, the 25-year-old Briton may have strutted in as the new heavyweight champion of the world, parading three shiny belts.

Heading into the lion's den against champion Oleksandr Usyk, with 40,000 fans jeering his every move, Dubois had been written off by pretty much everyone.

The term 'underdog' did not quite do it justice. He was given nothing more than a puncher's chance. But that punch came in the fifth round when Dubois landed a ferocious right hook to the body, sending Ukrainian Usyk to the canvas.

The shot was controversially declared a low blow by Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon. Usyk, still on the floor, leant against the ropes and took deep breaths.

He was given almost four minutes' recovery time by the official as a replay on the three big screens inside the open-air stadium showed Dubois' hook landing on Usyk's beltline.

Usyk recovered, the contest continued and Dubois tired. The fight ended in a ninth-round stoppage as Usyk retained his WBA 'Super', WBO and IBF titles.

From Buster Douglas' beatdown on the seemingly invincible Mike Tyson to Hasim Rahman's win over the ill-prepared Lennox Lewis, there have been some monumental upsets in heavyweight history.

Londoner Dubois almost joined the list.

Team Dubois set to appeal

Oleksandr Usyk on the floor after being hit with a low blow by Daniel Dubois
Unbeaten Usyk has never been knocked down as a professional

Immediately after the fight Dubois said he had been "cheated out of victory".

After being consoled by his team in the dressing room, it was left to Dubois' promoter Frank Warren and trainer Don Charles to address the media.

"Daniel is very upset. He won't even come here. He's so disappointed and I feel that for him," Queensberry Promotion's Warren said.

Dubois - who was the WBA mandatory challenger - has dreamt of becoming heavyweight champion from a young age, ever since being showed VHS tapes of Lennox Lewis by his dad.

Charles added: "I've usually got a lot to say but I'm speechless. Daniel Dubois has left the building. He's distraught. He's a young man aspiring to do great things in life, in boxing."

Warren plans to lobby the WBA to change the result to a no-contest or order an immediate rematch.

"The knockdown, which the judge said was below the belt, you can look back and see where the punch landed, the waistband of his shorts," he said.

Charles called for the use of technology in championship boxing. Warren questioned why, if the referee did consider it a low blow, was Dubois not docked a point.

Usyk insists blow was illegal

Oleksandr Usyk celebrates with Ukrainian flag after beating Daniel Dubois
Usyk dropped Dubois in the eighth and again in the ninth before the referee called off the contest

Former world champion Carl Frampton echoed Warren and what many on social media felt.

"That was not a low blow. That was a body shot. He should have been counted out. Daniel Dubois should be unified heavyweight champion right now," Frampton said on TNT Sports commentary.

But Usyk and his team had an altogether different interpretation at their post-fight news conference.

They looked shocked the low blow was even a talking point, although were prepared for the questioning.

"Do we have a definition of legal and illegal? The belly button is the line. Anything low of that is a low below," promoter Alex Krassyuk said.

Usyk stood up and lifted his shirt, showing his midriff and pointing to where he felt the shot landed.

"Boxing is sport and gentleman. It's not a street fight," Usyk said, adding: "I'm ready to fight tomorrow. In a rematch. In the street fight. Not boxing gloves but a street fight. Only fists."

Krassyuk accused Dubois of fighting dirty. Trainer Russ Anber - working as a cornerman for Usyk - walked to the centre of the room and waved his phone, saying he had a still photo of the punch which proves it was illegal.

'Don't let Tyson hit me below the belt'

Usyk was fighting in front of a large number of Ukrainians for the first time since the Russian invasion 18 months ago.

He ended the news conference by fielding questions on a potential undisputed bout with WBC champion Tyson Fury.

It was almost agreed for 29 April at Wembley Stadium before talks stalled and a blame game followed. Disagreements over purse splits and rematch clauses at the centre of the failed negotiations, all aired out in public.

"If he wants it, I want it, but let him not hit me below the belt," Usyk joked.

Briton Fury will face MMA fighter Francis Ngannou in a non-title bout on 28 October in Saudi Arabia, a bout purists do not regard as true boxing contest.

There has been a strong appetite for a historic Usyk-Fury fight to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era.

But if Warren and Dubois get their way and a rematch is ordered, the wait for an undisputed champion may just go on for a little longer.

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