Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that Anthony Joshua didn’t start well in his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.
Joshua’s bid to recapture the unified heavyweight titles ended in disappointment as Usyk produced a terrific performance to win by split decision in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In a clash billed as the Rage on the Red Sea, two judges scored the fight 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk, while a third judge gave it 115-113 to the challenger. While there were some close rounds, Usyk was the deserved winner.
Speaking at the ringside after the fight, Hearn said, “What a performance from Oleksandr Usyk. I thought we had him but the 10th round was one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen.
“What he did in the 10th, 11th, 12th rounds were incredible. AJ didn’t start fast enough but he fought a much better fight than last time. He hurt him in the ninth but Usyk came on like a train.
“In the 10th round, Usyk decided to regain the fight. He’s too good. There’s no shame in it. You saw the reaction from AJ, from a human who wanted to win so badly and he exploded.
“He couldn’t win, he’s a competitor, a winner. But he was too good. That’s why he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter. I felt Usyk won because of the 10th,11th and 12th rounds. I had it very close going into those rounds but the championship rounds showed from championship fighter that he is a pound-for-pound great.
“AJ gave it everything – he had a great training camp and was desperate to win tonight but it wasn’t to be. He lost a split decision to the pound-for-pound number one.
“He has to go away, rebuild, get his frustration out and be happy. That’s the most important thing.”