Over the weekend, the shock-o-meter registered soaring readings on account of Oleksander Usyk’s upset victory over Anthony Joshua.
In doing so, Usyk of Ukraine became only the third boxer in history to become a champion in the cruiserweight division as well as the heavyweight division.
USYK. Joshua came into the fight with a height and weight advantage but that hardly mattered as Usyk was able to negate those and score a clear convincing victory behind scores of 115-113, 117-112, 116-112, all in his favor.
In the early rounds Usyk showed he had no fear of Joshua’s size as he traded with him and landed several flush left hands down the pipe.
He was always the more active and busy fighter and often beat Joshua to the punch. The latter came on strong in the middle rounds and landed a couple of big thudding right hands that stunned Usyk. However, the Ukrainian was back in control in the championship rounds and in the last round was able to hurt Joshua to the point where the latter could have been in danger of a knockout had the bell not sounded the denouement of the fight.
As the bell sounded, you could tell from the body language that Joshua knew he had lost. He walked nonchalantly to his corner trying to appear cool and relaxed but he didn’t have the gumption to raise his hands in anticipation of a victory.
How could he, when he was soundly outboxed by a superior foe?
JOSHUA. Now with his second loss against a smaller fighter whom he was supposed to have handled well (the first was Andy Ruiz), naysayers are now questioning Joshua’s capacities.
As I stated in our previous column, his movements at times can appear mechanical and cumbersome but he always has his size and power to fall back upon.
I think it might not be too late for Joshua to change his approach to fights. He should just capitalize on his strengths and overpower his opponents when he can. He just lacks the smoothness and flow a boxer naturally possesses. When he forces himself to adapt to this style, it seems unnatural to him. And when that happens to a fighter that’s dangerous because he exposes on the defensive end.
Joshua should just discard the boxer-puncher hybrid peg. He should go Deontay Wilder on his opponents and win or lose spectacularly.
HOLYFIELD. Usyk reminds me so much of Evander Holyfield. Usyk, just like Holyfield, was the shorter fighter at 6’3” and like the “Real Deal,” was a former cruiserweight champion of the world.
Holyfield wasn’t a big heavyweight, but he made up for it with speed, clean effective punching and tremendous heart. Watching Usyk square off against Joshua appeared eerily similar to Holyfield facing off against Lennox Lewis, coincidentally another British champion standing at least 6’5.”
LAST ROUND. It’s on Dawn Bolongan-Tero who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!