‘All those who are of Cossack sort will not give up their own, they will fight and definitely win!’: Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy hails Oleksandr Usyk’s title defence win over AJ as inspiration for war-torn country
- President of Ukraine hailed Oleksandr Usyk’s ‘important’ and ‘necessary’ win
- REPORT: Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua by split decision in Saudi Arabia
- Both fighters held up blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag as judges’ scores came in
The president of Ukraine hailed Oleksandr Usyk’s ‘important’ and ‘necessary’ split-decision victory over Anthony Joshua.
Usyk retained his world heavyweight titles over Anthony Joshua on Saturday in a rematch in Saudi Arabia in a tighter fight than last year.
Both fighters held up the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag as the judges’ scores were read out at King Abdullah Sport City arena near Jeddah. When he was declared the winner, Usyk hid his face behind the flag.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after beating Britain’s Anthony Joshua on Saturday night
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed Usyk’s victory as an inspiration for the country
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was quick to congratulate his compatriot. He said on Twitter: ‘Difficult, but so important and necessary VICTORY!
‘Defending the title of world champion is a symbol that all those who are of Cossack sort will not give up their own, they will fight for it and will definitely win!’
The 35-year-old Usyk kept his WBA, WBO and IBF belts six months after serving in the Ukrainian army as part of the country´s defence against Russia’s invasion.
Usyk retained his world heavyweight titles after recording a split-decision victory over AJ
Encouraged by a pre-fight message from his country’s president, Usyk carried the weight of a war-torn nation in a fight that was on free-to-air TV in his native country and he had to weather a sustained body attack from an improved Joshua to secure the win.
Both boxers looked exhausted at the final bell. Usyk fell to the canvas and looked to the sky and was soon joined there by Joshua, who embraced his opponent and appeared to offer his help to the plight of Ukraine.
In an expletive-laden speech inside the ring, Joshua praised Usyk for fighting so well in the circumstances.
Usyk also claimed the Ring Magazine belt with the win. There´s only one heavyweight title that Usyk doesn´t own – the WBC one that was vacated this year by Tyson Fury, who says he is retired.
When asked about Fury, Usyk said: “I am sure Tyson Fury is not retired yet. I am sure Tyson Fury wants to fight me. If I´m not fighting Tyson Fury, I´m not fighting at all.”
Two judges gave it to Usyk, one 115-113 and the other 116-112. The other gave the fight to Joshua, 115-113.
Joshua, a two-time heavyweight champion, fell to his third loss in 27 fights and his career is at a crossroads.
Where Usyk goes from now appears to depend on Fury.
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