Usyk’s Tactical Masterclass Defeats Joshua

The emphatic ending to the last round in which the reigning champion was pummelled by a succession of combinations was near enough the icing on the cake for Usyk who let his fists do the talking to leave no doubt that he was victorious to join Evander Holyfield and David Haye in the successful transiton from undisputed cruiserweight champion to heavyweight champion.

A dejected Joshua made no effort to raise his arms to claim an unlikely victory as he looked a forlorn, beaten man with a damaged right eye.  He slumped back to his stool and only at the last second rose back on his feet as the judges scorecards came through to confirm that Usyk had won on all three scorecards.

Beforehand, many respected Boxing pundits such as Anthony Bellew, Carl Froch and Johnny Nelson had predicted that Joshua’s size and weight advantage would be too much for the Ukrainian who hadn’t looked impressive in his unanimous points win over Derek Chisora last year November.

Usyk himself wasn’t pleased with his performance and gave himself a 3/10 rating in what was a tough bout in which Chisora had attempted to manhandle Usyk.  Many had thought that the method of physically mauling Usyk would be an option that Joshua could use on the night.

However Usyk weighing in at 221 pounds (15st 11lbs) was a mere 19 pounds lighter than Joshua. (17 st 2lbs) and his tactics of constantly moving and throwing combinations from unusal angles proved to be the perfect antidote to defeat the two-time heavyweight champion.

Attempting to outbox Usyk who has the pedigree of 335 victories in 350 amateur bouts, was a recipe for disaster for Joshua who reverted to the same tactics that he had used  successfuly against Andy Ruiz Jr. in regaining his world titles.

Usyk however is a different kettle of fish to Ruiz who although having previously had just 18 professional fights, has had an extensive amateur career similar to his compatriot Lomochencko who has won world titles in three weight classes having fought just 17 times in the professional ranks.

Although not a heavy puncher,  Usyk continually stung Joshua with his combinations and it could be argued that Joshua  had only won 3 rounds out of the 12 on the night as Usyk’s superior Boxing skillset was evident throughout the night.

An immediate rematch clause means that Usyk is obliged to defend his titles against Joshua.  He’ll take a great deal of confidence  going into the rematch whch will likely take place in the first quarter of next year knowing that his superior Boxing IQ should make him a strong favourite to win the rematch and then hunt for the WBC title.

Anthony Joshua will be reeling from the manner in which he was outboxed in front of 65,000 fans at the magnificient Tottenham Hotspur stadium and a lot of soul-searching and a new strategy will be needed in order to overcome what will be the biggest challenge of his career against the phenomenal Alexander Usyk.


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