USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL

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USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL
USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL

USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL

by
USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL
USYK IS ALREADY IMMORTAL

Ukrainian southpaw Oleksandr Usyk secured on Saturday a niche in the temple of boxing immortals by defeating Englishman Tyson Fury by a narrow yet unquestionable split decision at the Kingdom arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A memorable victory that inscribes him in the history books as the first unified heavyweight world champion since the era of the 4 belts (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO) and the second to achieve it in 25 years, after the English-Canadian Lennon Lewis, who did it against the American Evander Holyfield on November 13, 1999, in New York’s Madison Square Garden, a former boxing mecca, when Lewis, nicknamed The Lion, unified his WBC belt with the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) crowns.

Usyk, 37, two years older than his opponent and who was previously king of the cruiserweight and exposed his WBA, WBO and IBF belts-Fury rose as WBC titleholder. Usyk is also the second undisputed champion in two different divisions in the annals of the boxing, preceded by the current welterweight ruler, Terence Crawford, who dominated the junior welterweight or super lightweight until recently.

To Usyk,  besides being the only owner of four belts in another weight -cruiserweight-, he is also the undisputed champion of his country who has sat on two thrones as owner of a total of 8 crowns. 

With all that said about the skilled and tough gladiator with an equally brilliant record in the amateur field, in which he was world and Olympic champion, there is no doubt that he is already assured of being inducted into the Hall of Canastota, New York, once his career comes to an end. 

A LONG BATTLE

AND A DECISIVE ROUND

Saturday’s fight fully met the expectations generated around it long before its staging and its development satisfied the nearly 25 thousand people who filled the luxurious venue of the Saudi capital, currently the center of the most important fights in the world, even above Las Vegas, until recently the most important place in the world.

Usyk, 6’3”, 6 inches shorter than his opponent, undefeated in 21 fights with 14 knockouts, at first looked small against Fury, also undefeated with 34-0-1 and 24 knockouts, with a superior and impressive ‘physical’ frame. However, it was clear from the opening bell that the fight would be violent. As indeed it was with a constant and brutal exchange of blows in almost all 36 minutes of the fight,

The fight was kept at a violent pace from the start and as the rounds went by, which foreshadowed a tight finish with Usyk in constant harassment and Fury at times giving the impression that he would take things calmly, with the occasional rant. 

The whole picture of the evenly matched bout changed abruptly when the fight reached the ninth round, undoubtedly decisive in the outcome of the hot fight. Midway through the round Usyk unleashed a hard left that sent the Englishman back to the ropes. The Ukrainian chased after him and unleashed a barrage of punches that sent the self-styled Gypsy King tumbling from one side of the ring to the other. Two, three or four more heavy blows left Fury more stunned, and he seemed to go to the canvas. At that point the American referee, Mark Nelson, stepped in. We were following the action on TV and thought Nelson would stop the fight. He pulled Usyk aside at the precise moment the bell rang for the end of the three-minute round, scored 10-8 by all three judges; that is, it was counted as a confusing knockdown, with no knockdown.

The next three rounds did not diminish the intensity of the fight, which maintained its rhythm of alternatives with a Fury already recovered and moving around the ring and with Usyk in insistent attacks precariously restrained by a battered opponent, who still did not stop fighting.

When the fight ended, the announcer immediately announced the decision before an expectant mass of fans: 114-113 in favor of Usyk, 114,113 for Fury and a decisive 115-112 for the Ukrainian, verdicts of the American judge Mike Fitzgerald, the Canadian Craig Metcalfe and the Spanish Manuel Oliver, respectively. Our appreciation, from the peace of the house and in front of the small screen, coincided with that of Fitzgerald.

An epilogue to this light-hearted note. In our pre-fight comments we stated that even though Fury looked with a theoretical greater chance of victory, the match would be “a clash of trains because his opponent is not a handicap. And in that collision either one of them could derail”. It was the English train that derailed, 

We will have to wait, however, to know if this derailment is definitive because the Usyk-Fury II will come, assured in the clause of revenge signed by the parties. At the last moment, it occurs to us to state that the result proved once again the truth of the old proverb: “Better skill than force”. In Riyadh, skill prevailed.


Riyadh Season: Bivol vs Zinad on June 1

Riyadh Season: Bivol vs Zinad on June 1



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