Around 2019, no one would have thought that a small heavyweight who had risen from the cruiserweight division in a few years would put himself at the top of the most glamorous division in the sport.
At that time, Alexander Usyk had just stepped up to fight Chazz Witherspoon, and leviathans like Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua ruled the place.
But here we are. Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) has just defeated Joshua in a rematch and now holds the IBF, WBA, WBO belts.
THE FIGHT. Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) did well early on, trying to find a home for his long jab.
Usyk, the crafty fighter that he is, landed a few eye-catching shots but for the most part, Joshua controlled the action.
Usyk became more active in the fourth, while Joshua did some effective body work.
Halfway through the fight I had Joshua ahead by two rounds.
The eighth round was close and full of action with both men having their moments, but Joshua really came alive in the ninth.
He landed several body shots that had Usyk reeling. Joshua tried his best to do maximum damage but Usyk cleverly connected and tied him to stifle his offense.
Unfortunately for Joshua, Usyk showed remarkable recovery powers and in the next round demanded revenge for the pummeling he received.
Usyk landed several combinations that confused Joshua and although the latter landed a big right, Usyk dominated him in the 10th.
The last two rounds were very entertaining but Usyk prevailed with more demanding hands and activity. Joshua would throw a punch here and there but Usyk was more consistent with his combinations.
The split decision verdict in favor of Usyk was emblematic of the close nature of the proceedings, but it still bodes ill for AJ’s career as he has now lost twice to Usyk leaving him in limbo and unable to understand the his nemesis.
WEIRD. Perhaps all the mixed emotions he was feeling all came to a head after the fight, as Joshua displayed strange behavior.
He threw his belts out of the ring, made his way to the dressing room then went back to the ring.
He then took some of the attention off Usyk by proceeding to grab the mic, make a short speech about why he lost, and then start acting as Usyk’s personal cheerleader.
THE LAST ROUND. It is about a dear friend who recently made an important step, Dr. Gerry Ypil. Happy 50th, brother. Cheers!