We have a new champion in the heavyweight division. Former cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk upset four-belt champion Anthony Joshua on Saturday evening, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 116-112, 117-112, 115-113.
He dominated much of the fight, and while he did not get a knockdown of Joshua, he had him in trouble a couple different times. Boxing scorecards can be shaky at times, but Usyk’s dominant performance was rewarded with the WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO titles.
The question now is what next for Usyk? Coming into this fight, the generally accepted plan was Joshua would fight Usyk and then upon winning would work to get a unification bout with the winner of the October 9th Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder fight. Fury is the WBC champ and is looking to close out a trilogy of fights with Wilder, the last of which seems a bit unnecessary.
But now, the situation is thrown for a bit of a loop. Usyk is the champ, but likely will first have to deal with a rematch against Joshua. This is Joshua’s second career loss, and he avenged his first. Andy Ruiz defeated him by TKO in June 2019 and Joshua responded with a December 2019 unanimous decision win over Ruiz. He struggled against Usyk, but will no doubt want a second chance to win back his belts.
We still want a unification bout, but it seems unlikely we’ll see Usyk-Fury or Usyk-Wilder anytime soon.