June 16th, 2024

Usyk beats Fury by split decision, becomes undisputed heavyweight champion

By The Associated Press on May 18, 2024.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Oleksandr Usyk has defeated Tyson Fury by split decision to become the first undisputed heavyweight boxing champion in 24 years.

Usyk (22-0) added Fury’s WBC title to his own WBA, IBF and IBO belts with a spectacular late rally highlighted by a ninth-round knock-down in a back-and-forth bout between two previously unbeaten heavyweight champs. Two judges favoured Usyk, 115-112 and 114-113, while the third gave it to Fury, 114-113.

Usyk started quickly, but then had to survive while the confident, charismatic Fury dominated the middle rounds. Usyk rallied in the final rounds, just as the Ukrainian Olympic gold medallist has done so many times in his career, taking control with a dominant eighth round and nearly stopping Fury in the ninth.

Usyk hurt Fury (34-1-1) with a left hand and eventually sent him sprawling into a corner in the final seconds of the round, getting credit for a knock-down right before Fury was saved by the bell. Fury made it to the 10th, but he struggled to mount a consistent attack after nearly getting stopped.

Fury kissed Usyk on the head after the final bell. The fighters are likely to have a rematch in Saudi Arabia in the fall.

Usyk is the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the honour for five months in 1999 and 2000. He is also now the lineal heavyweight champion by beating Fury, who beat Wladimir Klitschko to earn that distinction in 2015.

AP boxing: https://apnews.com/boxing

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