Official result: Oleksandr Usyk def. Anthony Joshua via split decision (115-113, 115-113, 116-112)
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2 fight results, highlights: Ukrainian champion retains titles by decision
Usyk put on another masterful performance in the main event on Saturday to turn AJ away for a second time
Were there any doubt that Oleksandr Usyk were truly the better man when he defeated Anthony Joshua in their first meeting, the Ukrainian erased them on Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Usyk won the rematch to remain WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion inside the Jeddah Superdome after 12 hard-fought rounds by split decision in a fight where there was truly no doubt he deserved to be named the victor.
Joshua showed that he had made some real adjustments since their September 2021 clash, fighting in a lower stance and not falling into Usyk's traps in the opening rounds. That made it difficult for Usyk to truly get rolling early as he maintained his constant lateral movement, but without the same offensive openings presenting themselves as they had in the first meeting.
Usyk began to switch up his gameplan beginning in Round 4 as he began to figure out the approach Joshua was taking. Rather than allow Joshua to lead the fight and apply pressure, Usyk began to circle more and fire off combinations with the intention to touch Joshua more than hurt him with any one shot. In response to Usyk's adjustment, Joshua began to fall into the same traps as the first meeting, chasing Usyk and missing wildly at times.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Usyk, however, as Joshua made a big adjustment of his own, focusing his offense on Usyk's body. A steady diet of hooks and uppercuts to the torso slowed Usyk's movement and opened up the head.
This led to Joshua's biggest moment in the fight -- and the most likely chance for him to have scored a stoppage. In Round 9, Joshua battered Usyk around the ring, seemingly stunning the champion multiple times throughout the frame.
Usyk stayed on his feet, however, and showed true championship qualities in the final three rounds of the fight. Beginning in Round 10, Usyk upped his output considerably, tagging Joshua with heavy shots multiple times. Joshua's lower stance disappeared and he began to fight with very straight, slow legs as Usyk took over and ensured a well-deserved victory.
The official scorecards after the fight read 115-113 and 116-112 for Usyk with one 115-113 card inexplicably turned in for Joshua.
After retaining three of the four recognized world heavyweight championships, Usyk was asked the obvious question of whether he intended to look to become the undisputed champion by going after the WBC belt currently held by Tyson Fury. Fury has repeatedly claimed he has retired from boxing, though many believe he could be coaxed back to the ring with the promise of an undisputed title fight.
"I'm sure that Tyson Fury is not retired yet," Usyk said during his post-fight interview. "I'm convinced that Tyson wants to fight me and I want to fight him. If I'm not fighting him, I'm not fighting at all. Only God knows whether I will or not."
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Usyk vs. Joshua 2 fight card, results
- Oleksandr Usyk (c) def. Anthony Joshua via split decision (115-113, 113-115, 116-112)
- Filip Hrgovic def. Zhilei Zhang via unanimous decision (115-112, 115-112, 114-113)
- Callum Smith def. Mathieu Bauderlique via fourth-round knockout
- Badou Jack def. Richard Rivera via split decision (96-94, 94-96, 96-94)
Usyk vs. Joshua 2 scorecard
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 12: Joshua likely needed a knockout coming into the round, though boxing scorecards are anything but a certainty. Joshua landed to the body and landed a right hand upstairs. Usyk began to fire back and landed several clean punches. Again, Joshua launched in and got countered but then landed a good left hand. Joshua began trying to clinch and rough up Usyk but it was mostly Usyk landing the shots even as Joshua had a few moments with right hands. Usyk landed another two-punch combination as Joshua was falling all over the ring trying to make anything happen. Unofficial scorecards: 10-9 Usyk (116-112 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 11: Usyk landed an early left hand and moved away from Joshau's return fire. Usyk landed a thudding lead hook before peppering Joshua with constant shots, whether hard or soft. Joshua got a bit of momentum with a body shot. Usyk went right back to flurrying and moved out of the way of a Joshua body shot before landing another flurry of jabs and left hands. Joshua still looked to the body and didn't listen to the referee's instructions in the clinch as he looked desperate to force anything. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (106-103 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 10: Usyk landed a good jab and then a jab and left hand as he began to move quickly again. Usyk landed a good left hook and a right hand as Joshua seemed a bit hurt. Usyk landed several more big power shots. Usyk dug to the body and to the head but Joshaua landed a good right and Usyk was stunned. Usyk cracked with a hard uppercut. Usyk then again flurried hard and Joshua stumbled a bit after a left hand. Usyk blasted away late, landing six or seven shots for every one of Joshua's. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (96-94 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 9: Usyk opened up with a short combination and got back on the move. Joshua has continued to land to the body, hitting uppercuts. Usyk has slowed a bit as Joshua started to land some good shots upstairs. Joshua with a flurry of punches, including on the break and to the back of the head as he's happy to get rough. Joshua began chasing Usyk around the ring landing a lot of clean shots as Usyk looked in trouble. Joshua landed a hook and a right hand, both around Usyk's guard. A great round for Joshua. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (86-85 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 8: Usyk opened the round with more head movement and some clean punches before making Joshua miss wildly. Joshua hit hard to the body and dug there again, seeing as he has struggled to find the head, it's a good idea to stick there. Usyk landed several jabs and a left hand. Usyk dug his own shot to the body and came back upstairs and Joshua threw a heavy flurry of shots to the body. Usyk didn't seem to love the body shots. Usyk landed several punches as he moved and flurried. That body work did enough for Joshua. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (77-75 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 7: A good left hand landed for Usyk and Joshua looked to start trying to clinch and get rough on the inside. Usyk dipped his head to slip under some of Joshua's power shots. Usyk dug to Joshua's body then landed a hard left hand as Joshua looked a bit frustrated with Usyk's defensive style. Usyk lands one final uppercut to end the round. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (68-65 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 6: Joshua landed a short hook as he tried to walk Usyk down. Usyk went to the stomach with a punch and then ame right back upstairs. Usyk landed a hook around Joshua's guard. Usyk is now finding his rhythm, moving and letting go when Joshua doesn't anticipate, making it hard for Joshua to find him. Joshua flurried well to the body as Usyk hit the ropes, a good moment for Joshua. Usyk landed a good left hand and a good right hand. When Joshua does land, Usyk lands several in return. Still a tight, competitive fight but it feels as though the momentum is all with Usyk. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (58-56 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 5: Usyk landed a jab early and slipped away from a sweeping Joshua left. Joshua landed a shot to the hip, a low blow that sent Usyk limping away for a break in the action. Usyk drilled Joshua to the stomach and landed a lead hook over a left hand from Joshua. Usyk also landed a good counter right over Joshua's jab. A big straight left also landed for Usyk. Clear Usyk round. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (48-47 Usyk)
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 4: Joshua received a warning for holding and pushing Usyk's head down. Usyk landed a good left hand and then another as he started to dial in with his offense. Usyk blocked a Joshua's right hand and snapped back with a counter. Usyk landed a shot to the body and then a right hand to the head. Joshua threw a bit of a flurry at the end but that felt like Usyk getting rolling. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Usyk (38-38)
If AJ don’t get tired it’s gone be a long night for Usyk— Terence Crawford (@terencecrawford) August 20, 2022
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 3: Usyk slipped the early jabs from Joshua and landed a left hand. Joshua landed a solid left hook and right hand. Joshua again landed as Usyk tried to come forward. Usyk landed a left hand but ate a jab in return. Usyk started to work more late in the round, landing a few but eating another right from Joshua. Usyk with a big left hand late in the round. Unoffiial scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (29-28 Joshua)
AJ looking real good— Terence Crawford (@terencecrawford) August 20, 2022
Oleksandr Usyk (c) vs. Anthony Joshua -- Round 2: Joshua tried to work behind a long jab in the opening moments of the round and landed a straight right to Usyk's body Joshua jabbed again and then dug to the body with a left hand. Usyk landed a left hand of his own and then again landed the up jab. Joshua landed another hard right late. Good round for Joshua. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Joshua (19-19)