Oleksandr Usyk secured a second consecutive victory over Anthony Joshua to defend the unified WBO, WBA and IBF titles; Usyk calls for heavyweight unification fight with WBC champion Tyson Fury; Fury responds by saying he would "annihilate" Usyk
Monday 22 August 2022 06:09, UK
Oleksandr Usyk has called for an undisputed heavyweight world championship clash with Tyson Fury after retaining his WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a spectacular split decision rematch victory over Anthony Joshua.
Usyk delivered a boxing masterclass in Jeddah on Saturday night to repeat last year's victory over two-time world champion Joshua, who put up a courageous and improved display against the Ukrainian.
Fury, whose last fight was a knockout victory over Dillian Whyte in April, recently reaffirmed his intention to retire from boxing, but appeared to suggest in a social media post immediately after Usyk's victory that he would return to the ring.
"I'm sure that Tyson Fury is not retired yet," Usyk said in the ring after his split decision win.
"I'm sure, I'm convinced he wants to fight me. I want to fight him and if I'm not fighting Tyson Fury, I'm not fighting at all."
Moments later, Fury posted a video on Instagram in which he criticised both Joshua and Usyk, before suggesting he could be persuaded to come out of a short-lived retirement.
"It was one of the worst heavyweight title fights l have ever seen," Fury said.
"I would annihilate both of them on the same night. Get your chequebook out because the Gypsy King is here to stay forever."
Usyk dedicated his victory to Ukraine, with the rematch having been delayed following Russia's invasion of the country in February.
"I did all this victory for my country, for all people, militaries who are defending the country," Usyk said. "Thank you very, very much."
Unlike in their first encounter in London last September, Joshua was able to put Usyk under extreme pressure as he landed significant punches at various stages of the fight.
The most notable assault launched by the Brit came in the ninth round, as Usyk was left to hold on for the bell, before bouncing back with a dominant 10th round to re-establish control.
"This is already historic," Usyk said.
"Many generations are going to watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to beat me hard, but I withstood it and turned it in a different way."
Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch said that Fury remains the top fighter in the heavyweight division, and is "definitely" capable of beating Usyk.
"Tyson Fury is the best in the division," Froch said on Sky Sports after Usyk's victory over Joshua.
"He's shown it time and time again. His fights against Deontay Wilder, the way in which he uses his size and reach, and is able to throw lots of punches from different angles and use his weight effectively.
"The weight would be such a big advantage for him in the way in which he would use that against Usyk.
"Tonight's the first time I've seen him where I've thought he could get stopped here. He's beatable. Tyson Fury can beat Usyk, definitely, and I think he's number one."
Meanwhile, cruiserweight world champion Lawrence Okolie insisted that the temptation of an undisputed bout would be too much for either fighter to turn down.
"I think the opportunity to become undisputed heavyweight world champion for both of them is going to be too much for anyone to say no to," Okolie said.
"So I think he (Fury) will come out for one last dance at least."