By Craig Daly: IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) continued his reign with an impressive 12 round split decision win over a desperate Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) on Saturday night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The scores were 115-113, 116-112 for Usyk, and 115-113 for Joshua.
Like last time he fought the crafty Usyk, Joshua looked befuddled by the movement and the constant jabs thrown into the air space in front of him. Usyk wasn’t trying to hit Joshua with most of the jabs he was throwing.
They were being thrown to make him think twice about throwing anything of his own. There wasn’t much to differentiate how Joshua fought this time compared to the last time he fought Usyk in September.
Other than some dirty stuff from Joshua in the form of a hammer fist, low blows, and hitting on the break, it was the same AJ that fought Usyk last time. Joshua’s new trainer Robert Garcia had little to no impact on his performance, which isn’t surprising given that this was the first training camp together.
Joshua was totally bottled up in rounds one through four, rarely landing anything. When Joshua did land, the pro-Joshua crowd cheered loudly for him. AJ did land a couple of body shots in each round, but he didn’t dare try more because Usyk was making him pay each time.
Knowing he was behind late in the contest, Joshua unloaded with some big shots in rounds eight and nine and appeared to be turning the tide of the fight.
Sensing the fight was getting away from him, Usyk came storming back in the tenth round and battered the living daylights out of Joshua.
From that point on, it was all Usyk, as he controlled rounds 11 and 12, and didn’t let the tired-looking Joshua back into the fight.
All in all, it was a good fight for Usyk because he once again proved that he was on another level than Joshua. For Joshua’s sake, he needs to give up on any ideas he might have of fighting Usyk a third time because it’s pointless.
Unless Joshua is a glutton for punishment, he needs to go in another direction toward someone that he has a chance of beating, like Dillian Whyte.