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BREAKING! Usyk beats Fury to become undisputed heavyweight champ

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Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk - Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - May 19, 2024 Oleksandr Usyk celebrates with the belts after winning the fight to become the undisputed heavyweight world champion Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge REUTERS

Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine has entered into  boxing immortality as becomes the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis secured all four major titles in 1999.

The Ukrainian  scored a razor-thin split decision over Tyson Fury in a thrilling contest at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Dwarfed by his enormous opponent, Usyk had to weather a storm in the middle of the fight but he came roaring back, forcing Fury to take a standing count in the ninth round as he blazed his way to victory.

The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first boxer to hold all four major heavyweight belts at the same time and the first undisputed champ since the end of Lennox Lewis’ reign in April 2000.

Usyk got the better of the opening rounds before Fury hit his stride in the fourth, engaging in some showmanship as he started to catch Usyk with vicious body shots, but the Ukrainian battled back with several stinging reminders of his power.

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Usyk turned the tide in the eighth round and few would have been surprised had the referee stopped the fight in the ninth as the Ukrainian’s powerful punches to the head left Fury reeling.

The previously undefeated Briton managed to hang on until the bell but he struggled through the final three rounds of the fight as Usyk chased him down to edge him out on the judges’ scorecards.

“Thank you so much. … It’s a big opportunity for me, for my family, for my country. … It’s a great time, it’s a great day,” a tearful Usyk said in a post-fight interview in the ring, adding that he would grant Fury an immediate rematch.

In the co-main event, Australia’s Jai Opetaia won a unanimous decision over Mairis Briedis of Latvia to win the vacant IBF cruiserweight title, and Ireland’s Anthony Cacace scored a TKO win over Joe Cordina of Wales to retain his IBO super-featherweight title and claim the IBF belt.

Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Boxing

Usyk-Fury heavyweight rematch set for Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia

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The heavyweight rematch between undisputed world champion Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will take place on Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia, according to the advisor who organizes boxing events in the kingdom.

Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, confirmed the date of the fight on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. He said it will take place in Riyadh, the location of the first fight on May 19.

“The world will watch another historical fight again,” he wrote. “Our commitment to boxing fans continues … We hope you enjoy it.”

Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 when he defeated Fury by split decision, earning a narrow win on two scorecards. The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first heavyweight to hold every major title belt since Lennox Lewis.

It was Fury’s first loss as a professional.

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-AP

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Furious Fury to clash again with Usyk in October

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All hope is not lost for Tyson Fury who lost his WBC heavyweight championship belt to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia early this Sunday morning.

Both boxer had agreed before the unification bout that the loser of their fight would be eligible to trigger a rematch.

Owing to the two-way rematch clause, there will be a second showdown. As for a date, nothing is set in stone. The hopeful Saudi boxing chief Turki Alalshikh confirmed that a rematch is likely to go ahead on 12th/13th October 2024, not taking into account exceptional circumstances such as injuries or unforeseen events.

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Sympathy for Ukraine behind Usyk’s heavyweight win, says Fury

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Heavyweight Tyson Fury said sympathy for Ukraine was behind the judges’ awarding a split-decision victory to Oleksandr Usyk in their heavyweight title fight on Sunday, with the Briton calling for an immediate rematch.

After cruising through the middle of the fight, Fury never recovered from a standing eight count in the ninth round, and the judges gave the fight to Usyk, making him the first undisputed heavyweight champion in almost 25 years.

“I believe I won that fight. I believe he won a few of the rounds but I won the majority of them …. His country’s at war, and people are siding with the country at war, but make no mistake, I won that fight,” Fury said in a post-fight interview in the ring.

Ukraine has been fighting a Russian invasion that started more than two years ago.

“I’ll be back. I’ve got a rematch clause,” the previously undefeated Fury added, with promoter Frank Warren saying in the ring another fight between the two was a certainty.

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“That’s what the contract says. It’s what he wants. It’s his call, it’s Tyson’s call. So whatever he wants to do, it’s up to him,” Warren said.

After an intriguing 12-round battle that saw both men enjoy success, plenty of boxing fans would relish the chance to see the pair go at it again, especially after Usyk managed to turn the tide.

“We’ll go back to our families and I’ll see him again in October. We’ll go back, rest up. I believe I won the fight but I’m not going to sit and cry and make excuses. We’ll run it again in October,” Fury said.

Asked if he would be prepared to face Fury again, Usyk, who did not respond directly to Fury’s claim, was unequivocal.

“Yes, of course,” the 37-year-old Ukrainian said.

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-Reuters

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