The 35-year-old Ukrainian proved unbeatable during the 12-round competition, maintaining his nerve to dominate Joshua with a series of powerful blows. Joshua appeared to break Usyek’s momentum in the ninth round and land a flurry of punches at his opponent, before falling back to defeat.
He got a score of 115-113 from one judge, but Usyk eventually emerged as the stronger contender and got scores of 115-113 and 116-112 from two judges to retain his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles. .
The 32-year-old Ali won by knockout in the first round, improving her career record to 7-0.
The heavyweight rematch was billed as “Wrath on the Red Sea,” a headline that certainly captured the mood of the night.
“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion,” Joshua said, adding of Usek: “Telling you this guy is hitting me tonight, I could have probably done a better job, but it shows the levels of hard work he must have put in, so please give him a run.” of applause as the World Heavyweight Champion.”
Earlier this year, the 35-year-old traveled home and joined the Kyiv Regional Defense Battalion to help with the war effort.
“This is really history,” he added. “Many generations will watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to hit me so hard. But I (I held on) and I turned it in a different way.”
“I’m sure Tyson Fury hasn’t retired yet. I’m sure, I’m convinced he wants my warrior. I want to fight him,” Usik said. “If I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”
I was angry with myself
Joshua burst into tears during his post-match press conference, saying he was “disturbed” by his performance on Saturday.
“It’s really hard to say I’m proud of myself,” he said. “I’m upset, really, deep down in my heart.”
He also explained his emotional outburst after the match, adding, “When you try to do things from your heart, not everyone will understand. It was only from the heart. I knew I was angry at myself. Not at anyone, just myself, I was as if I should get out.” I’m here because I’m crazy.
“When you’re angry, you might do stupid things, so I was angry. But then I realized this is a sport, let me do the right thing.”
Ahead of the rematch, fellow British boxers Carl Frosch and Keel Brook said a second defeat to Usyk would mean the end of Joshua’s boxing career.
Despite the rumors, the 32-year-old has shown no signs of hanging up his gloves so far.
“I am a lifelong fighter,” he said. “Hunger never dies.”
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed reporting for this story.
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