Oleksandr Usyk has beaten Nigeria’s Anthony Joshua by a split decision to retain the heavyweight title.
In the rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Usyk landed more solid jabs on Joshua in the final round, while the former champion tried to counter with punches of his own.
Usyk was awarded 115-113 and 116-112 by the two judges, while the third judge gave the fight to Joshua 115-113, to enable the Ukrainian retain his titles.
Addressing the crowd after the fight, Joshua said he had an elite prospect from youth.
He said: “If you knew my story you would understand the passion. I ain’t no amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from youth. I was going to jail, I got bail and I started training my arse off, I wanted to be able to fight.
“I’m stealing this Usyk I’m sorry, but it’s because of the passion we put into this. This guy to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the level of hard work I put in so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world”.
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He added: “I’m not a 12-round fighter, look at me, I’m a new breed of heavyweights, Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, ‘you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano’, I’m 18 stone, I’m heavy, it’s hard work. This guy here is a phenomenal talent, we’re going to cheer for him three times”.