Nigeria's Lawrence Okolie win 3rd round TKO.
Ukrainian former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night at the Totenham Hotspur Stadium in London shocked the Nigeria/British World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Josua when he out punched him by unanimous decision to cart home the three belts, WBA, WBO and IBF tagged unified titles.
With tears in his eyes as he raised his arms in the center of the ring after the decision, former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk just shook up the heavyweight division.
Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) set a hellacious pace from the jump to land the cleaner and heavier shots to outbox Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) and relieve him of his WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. Despite no knockdowns, the fight was a thriller in front of nearly 68,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium outside of London.
"This means much for me, a lot," Usyk said. "The fight went exactly the way I expected it to go. There were a couple of moments when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special."
The 34-year-old Usyk threw a major wrench in the division's plans to crown the first undisputed champion of the four-belt era. Joshua, 31, was supposed to face WBC and lineal champion Tyson Fury this summer but plans were canceled after Deontay Wilder won a court injunction to invoke a trilogy bout against Fury for Oct. 9.
Instead of setting up plans for an all-England summit for the undisputed title, the next development besides Wilder-Fury III will be whether Joshua accepts his own contractually obligated rematch against Usyk.
"I have been working so hard since January in preparation for this fight," Usyk said. "It took me some half a year and I didn't see my family for so long. I miss my children and I miss watching them play. I want to go home and be happy and I'm not thinking about the rematch at this second."
Joshua, who had a swollen right eye that was threatening to close late in the fight, did not speak in the aftermath as he sought medical care. But promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport ultimately believes his fighter will seek a second bout.
"The rematch is going to be tough but there is nowhere to hide," Hearn said. "AJ is at the stage of his career where he wants his world championship and he's already talking about it now. The doctors are talking to him. To me, it looks like a damaged eye socket. He says he's fine but he told me he couldn't see from about the ninth round on."
This is the second defeat for AJ, the first against Andy Ruiz Jnr whom Patmos Media Line recalls he subdued in total revenge on December 7, 2019 at the Diriyah Arena, Saudi Arabia. It was an immediate revenge. Will he get same with the new Ukrainian Champion?
Nigeria’s Lawrence Okolie made predictably easy work of Dilan Prasovic in the first defense of his WBO cruiserweight title on the Joshua-Usyk undercard.
Lawrence Okolie after winning his bout.
Ref said "We've had enough for the night boy" and pushes Okolie away after dumping Prasovic.
Great Nigerians, AJ and Okolie while in training.
Prasovic was the mandatory challenger and unbeaten, but nothing on his record suggested he was a threat to the impressive Okolie, who knocked him out in the third round.
The challenger wasn’t afraid to come forward at Okolie, although he tended to overstretch in his shots. Okolie couldn’t land cleanly in the opener, though, as the Montenegrin presented a moving target,
Late in the second round, a right on the side of the head stiffened Prasovic’s legs and he went down to the floor as Okolie landed a follow-up right.
After he rose, Okolie landed another heavy right as he went for the finish, but Prasovic took it well and then held.
Prasovic was merely clinging on for survival in the third round, but after he ducked under one huge right, Okolie dropped him with a left to the body and was counted out by referee Steve Gray at 1:57 of the round.
Okolie has targeted a string of unification fights before ultimately moving up to heavyweight.
“I’m extremely happy to get a win in front of all these amazing people,” Okolie said. “I grew into the fight, it’s difficult against guys like that who come a little bit cagey. I need the big names to get the best from myself
“One hundred per cent [I want to unify the belts], the better the person is in front of me, the better my performance. This guy was trying to spoil, other guys will be trying to win.”
Fight card, results
· Oleksandr Usyk def. Anthony Joshua (c) (117-112, 116-112, 115-113)
· Lawrence Okolie (c) def. Dilan Prasovic via third-round TKO
· Campbell Hatton def. Sonni Martinez via decision (58-57)
· Callum Smith def. Lenin Castillo via second-round knockout
· Florian Marku def. Maxim Prodan via split decision (91-99, 97-93, 96-94)
Eniola Olatunji reporting with Agency link.