During the first minute of the fight, Joshua is looking far more conservative than he was during the first fight against Usyk. He is also ducking a little more when facing the Ukrainian fighter.
Lots of talk in AJ’s corner there, too much?
Usyk hovering in front, buzzing from side to side, with impeccable lateral movement. Joshua concentrates well and throws a jab.
Straight left from Usyk lands from range. Another. Joshua undeterred but yet to unload.
Usyk’s round again, but just at the bell, a right to the body, a crucial shot you’d think if AJ is to win this fight.
Joshua can build on that round you’d think. Usyk in a rhythm though.
Usyk with a combination up close for the first time.
Nice shoulder movement too, Joshua then grapples, working the body, but not for long, the Ukrainian slips away.
Joshua lunges with the uppercut. Narrowly misses. But then lands a right near the end of the round. Another Usyk round? It was close.
We are underway with Round 4 as Usyk is finally starting to get more aggressive than AJ. Joshua has his defense down perfectly, he is far more technical than the last time they fought.
Usyk finding his rhythm now and ratcheting up his output. Usyk landed a few sharp left hands and continues to avoid AJ’s body shots. Joshua needs to assert himself more and cut off the ring; he can’t win going backward.
Usyk also targeting the body then a right goes high and tags Joshua.
AJ with a wild left that misses. A mark above Joshua’s right eye, it’s swollen.
Joshua pushing out the jab, then a good right. Usyk then jumps up and maybe pushes his shoulder in?
Nice pressure from AJ with Usyk against the ropes.
But Usyk quickly resets and lands a combination.
Joshua applies pressure but doesn’t throw many punches behind it. Rather than cut off the ring he followed Usyk as the champ landed combos. Joshua needs to throw far more punches. Too many pawing shots.
It’s a pause in the action, the canvas needs to be cleaned. It’s too wet.
Usyk is happy with how things are going.
Joshua with some beautiful bodywork. Connected on a few sharp rights hand to the midsection before he unloaded to the body. Joshua needed this round badly.
After clearly winning Round 8, Anthony Joshua looks in a much better place at this point of the fight against Usyk. However, the champ is still countering pretty much everything. Uppercuts galore to the body from Joshua now, he has much more movement than Usyk in this round.
Usyk starts fast, buzzing in and throwing hard and fast.
Left hand but Joshua takes it well, big power shots, Joshua again standing tall.
Did AJ anger him in that last round? This is the most spiteful Usyk has been in the rematch.
Big shot from Joshua! Usyk shaken. Massive shift in momentum.
Joshua has his moments with the body shots again, but Usyk far sharper. He was able to slide around AJ and connect to the head over and over. One round remaining.
Joshua had some of his best moments of the fight with a few power shots as he pressed for the KO, but the champ absorbed the shots and kept throwing with ferocity, out-hustling Joshua to close the fight strong. Close round.
Usyk beats Anthony Joshua by a split decision to retain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles
Oof, well! Joshua was given that by 115-113 on one card but sanity prevails and Usyk gets it by margins of 116-112 and 115-113. Joshua is pretty emotional and quite angry at the end here. It’s a bit unseemly, and he has the ring in the middle of the ring. He’s swearing a lot, I think it’s coming from a good place though. He now asks for the crowd to salute Usyk. “I’m not a 12-round fighter, look at me!” Joshua says, before asking the crowd to give Usyk three cheers.
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