On Sunday, British-Nigerian boxer Anthony Joshua was defeated by Ukrainian boxer Oleksander Usyk in a rematch for the heavyweight title.
Usyk won a split decision to keep his IBF, IBO, WBA, and WBO championships.
Joshua battled Usyk all the way and put up a far better performance than his Ukrainian opponent in their first fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year, but he was unable to defeat him.
Joshua was awarded 115 to 113 points by the first judge, 115 to 113 points by the second, and 116 to 112 points by the third.
In London the previous year, Usyk, 35, had beaten the reigning champion. The victory by the Ukrainians may pave the way for a matchup with Tyson Fury of the United Kingdom.
After the bout, Joshua addressed the audience and claimed to have an exceptional prospect.
“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 ass off, I wanted to be able to fight,” Joshua said.
“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.”
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.”
Also addressing the crowd was Usyk, who spoke about his war-torn home country, Ukraine.
“I devote this victory to my country, my family, my team and to the military defending the country,” he said after the win. “This is already history. Many generations are going to watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to beat me hard. But I turned it in a different way,” he said.
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