Usyk beats Fury to become undisputed world heavyweight champion

Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury by split decision to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis. Fury was on course to be stopped in the ninth round after being stunned by the Ukrainian and Usyk added the World Boxing Council (WBC) belt to those of the WBA, IBF and WBO after 115-112, 113-114 and 114-113 in the three referee scoring cards of the clash in Saudi Arabia.

After seven rounds, in which the "Gypsy King" was the more active of the two and led the judges' cards, the situation in the ring changed radically in the ninth round, when Usyk found Fury with a left hook that almost knocked the Briton down. Referee Mark Nelson began the count of 10, believing that Fury was only able to stay on his feet with the aid of the ropes. Then the gong struck and practically saved him from another powerful cannonade of opponent's blows.

In the opening rounds, Fury several times acted more casual and non-serious, typical of his style. Still, he got warning signs from Usyk, especially after a right uppercut late in the second round. The Ukrainian took heavy blows in the sixth and seventh, with Fury making the most of his long swing. In the eighth, the picture in the ring did not change much, but things took on a different dimension in the ninth round, when Usyk showed why he defeated Fury's compatriot Anthony Joshua twice. Ultimately, the Ukrainian became the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in the four-belt era, after the last champion, Lennox Lewis, held three following his victory over Evander Holyfield in 1999.

"Thank you very much to my team. This is a great opportunity for my family, for my country. I am very happy. My country will be very happy, I think, a great victory, not only for me, but also for my countrymen, for soldiers who now they are defending my country. I think my father is watching me from above and he is very happy. Dad, I love you. I can, you told me that I can", said the winner, who remains undefeated in the ring with 22 -0 (14 by KO).

Meanwhile, Fury expressed his opinion that he should have won. "I think I won that fight. He won a few rounds, but I took most of them. Rest assured, I'll be back. We go back to our families and face each other again in October. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses", shared the "Gypsy King", for whom this was his first defeat in the ring - 34-1-1 (24 by knockout).

Usyk is ready for a rematch. "Yes, of course. I'm ready for a rematch". And his promoter Alex Krassyuk added: "I'm exhausted, I supported Usyk throughout the fight. No disrespect to the referee, but he stopped the knockout in the ninth round. It was an incredible performance, something amazing. I hope to see more in the rematch", he commented, and the eyes of the boxing world are already focused on episode number 2 between Usyk and Fury, which is expected in October later this year. /BGNES