Sports

Usyk thwarts heavyweight champ Joshua, who vows to fight back

Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk dethroned world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua in his own backyard with a unanimous points decision in front of a sell-out 67,000 crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Giving away height, weight and reach to the champion, Usyk, 34, proved too elusive for the 31-year-old Joshua and landed the much cleaner shots, finishing with a flurry in round 12.

Joshua stayed upright but the decision was a formality as Usyk seized the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts with the three judges scoring it 117-112, 116-112, 115-113.

"This means a lot for me. The fight went the way I expected it to go. There were moments when Anthony pushed me hard but it was nothing special," Usyk told Sky Sports.

"I had no objective to knock him out because my corner pushed me not to do that. In the beginning, I tried to hit him hard but then I stuck to my job."

Usyk is only the third cruiserweight world champion to step up a weight and become the heavyweight world champion after Evander Holyfield and David Haye.

For Joshua, a second career defeat was a crushing blow and scuppered hopes of a unification showdown with fellow Briton Tyson Fury, the WBC holder, who takes on American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Oct 9.

"I just want to get back to the gym, get back on the grind and improve, so when I fight these good guys and see that they are hurt, I can capitalise on the opportunity," said Joshua, who said he had trouble seeing after the ninth round, owing to the swelling under his right eye caused by Usyk's punche s.

"I'm a different kind of animal. I'm not a sulker." - REUTERS

OTHER SPORTS