Oleksandr Usyk ends Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight championship reign

LONDON — Oleksandr Usyk ended Anthony Joshua’s second reign as world heavyweight champion Saturday with a unanimous points win in just his third fight since stepping up from the cruiserweight division.

Usyk became the third man, after Evander Holyfield and David Haye, to win world titles at cruiserweight then heavyweight. Six years after Wladimir Klitschko’s long heavyweight reign ended, Ukraine has another champion in boxing’s marquee division.

Joshua could not 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. 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.

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

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.

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