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Boxing: Usyk beats Fury to become undisputed heavyweight champion


OLEKSANDR Usyk defeated Tyson Fury by split decision in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of today to become the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

The Ukrainian is the the first boxer to unify the heavyweight belts since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

Fury survived a near stoppage in the ninth round as he received a standing count and Usyk added the World Boxing Council title to his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation belts after earning victory with scores of 115-112, 113-114, 114-113.

Previously unbeaten Fury looked sharp and up for it from the beginning and was even showboating early in the fight, standing in a corner in the first round, slipping his head from side to side.

The much heavier and taller Briton continued to tease his smaller opponent in the second round, even hiding his hands behind his back, while his long jab was connecting.

Usyk, who has beaten Nigerian-Briton Anthony Joshua twice to snatch and then retain the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, was however not showing any signs of being intimidated by Fury’s size and antics.

He gave as good as he got and the bout was even until momentum shifted to the Ukrainian in the ninth round when he almost knocked Fury out.

Usyk smashed a left hook into Fury’s jaw which shook his 6ft 9in tall frame and had him rocking across the ring.

Usyk harried him with further crunching shots, smacking Fury into one set of ropes then another, and the boastful Briton could barely stand and leaned into the ropes.

Referee Mark Nelson intervened and administered a 10 count, apparently convinced that the ropes had kept Fury up. The bell then rang to end the round and save Fury from another barrage of punches.

With the win, Usyk remains unbeaten as a professional boxer, winning all his 22 fights, 14 via knockout, while Fury has the first dent in his record in his 37th fight (35-1-1).

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