Oleksandr Usyk Batters Tyson Fury with 170 Punches, Wins Undisputed Heavyweight Title in Riyadh. Cacace, Kabayel and Safar Win Upset Shockers on Undercard

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (May 19th, 2024)– Oleksandr Usyk had Tyson Fury beaten and battered near the end of round nine, staggering Fury off the ropes for an official knockdown. Fury was saved by the bell from what appeared to be his doom. The southpaw Usyk, 22-0 with 14 knockouts, age 37, Oxnard, California, by way of Ukraine, appeared bothered by Fury’s prefight hype mind games, and staged a brilliant technical display of David slaying the bigger bully Goliath, scoring a 12 round split decision in 12 rounds to win the undisputed World Heavyweight title.

Usyk landed 170 punches on Fury, most ever by any fighter, and became the first world champion to successfully defend his titles by actually beating Tyson ‘The Gypsy King’ Fury, now 34-1-1 with 24 knockouts, Morecambe, United Kingdom. Usyk landed the overhand left, and left-right power shot combinations early, contending instead with Fur’s pinpoint jabs in the first three rounds. Fury’s jab was backed up with good right uppercuts. Fury appeared to have momentum through the sixth round, with Usyk appeared to tire slightly. However, Fury remained cautious and never went in to attempt the kill.

By round seven, Usyk was reigning in left hands, and digging hard rights to the body of Fury. By the end of round eight, Fury showed a mouse under his right eye and a bloody nose, a bloody effect sure to have an impact on the judges scoring the mega bout. Fury tried landing right hands, but got hit instead by Usyk’s lethal counter lefts. Usyk’s power lefts and left-right hand power shot combination turned Fury’s legs to Jello, and sent Fury reeling into the ropes, appearing ready to go. Referee Mark Nelson counted Fury, who was most certainly saved by the bell.

Body shots dominated the championship rounds. Usyk kept moving forward Rocky Marciano style in the eleventh and twelfth rounds when the bout was still believed to be close on the scorecards. Technically, Usyk found a place for his right hand power shots, overhand left hands, and crisp combinations. Fury had the right uppercut and tried to fight back, but got outworked by Usyk, who composure and ring generalship were worthy of the Marciano comparison. Usyk never allowed Fury’s mouth or the size disparity to affect his game plan, which was to technically outwork a bigger boxer.

Fury, of course, is a better modern day version of tall heavyweight ring giants Primo Carnera, Jess Willard, and Nicolai Valuev. Marciano, also a bodybuilding and disciplined physical fitness heavyweight, did not have to beef up his weight in his era, which would have made him a cruiserweight by today’s standards. Usyk was cruiserweight champion, and naturally went up in weight. Fury and Deontay Wilder are big boy power hitters, but both lack the superb technical boxing skill and ring generalship Usyk has. In this reporter’s view, Usyk will be able to find the pathway to knock Fury out in a rematch later in 2024.

Usyk landed 170 punches overall and 122 power shots, to Fury’s 157 punches overall and 95 power shots. Fury landed 62 jabs to Usyk’s 48. Usyk landed 170 of 407 punches overall, a 41.7% landing rate to Fury’s 157 punches landed of 496 punches thrown, a rate under 32%. Usyk was more accurate overall. The charismatic Fury’s occasional showboating allowed him to drop his guard more than should have, giving Usyk, who had better bout concentration, more openings and more opportunities to score.

In Fury’s post-fight press conference, Fury believed he had won at least five of the first six rounds, a few of the next six rounds, and the bout. His corner never indicated to him anybody believed he was behind on the scorecards going into the final round. “Everyone is the (my) corner believed we were up (going into the last round). I was catching him (Usyk) and he was catching me. I hope you enjoyed it (the bout) as much as I did. I tried my best, and I came up short. ”

Usyk, in the post-fight press conference, talked about the knockdown and almost knockout of Fury. Referee Mark Nelson did not give Usyk the knockout. Usyk remarked “Smell (the) flowers. Big drama. (For) nine months I worked. I missed Happy New Year. I missed my son’s birthday. I missed my daughter’s birthday. I missed the birth of another daughter. I missed my family holidays. All (the) time training, training, training. My focus was on this fight. Now, I am happy. I am grateful for those people who prayed for me. I say thank you to my team, Team Usyk. Thank you so much, I love you.”

Result: Oleksandr Usyk Win 12 Tyson Fury, Heavyweights

Usyk Wins World Boxing Council World Heavyweight title

Usyk Retains World Boxing Association Super World Heavyweight title

Usyk retains World Boxing Organisation World Heavyweight title

Usyk retains International Boxing Federation World Heavyweight title

Usyk retains International Boxing Organization World Heavyweight title

Usyk wins lineal World Heavyweight title

Scoring: 115-112, 114-113 Usyk. 114-113 Fury.

Referee: Mark Nelson

Usyk is credited with a knockdown of Fury in round nine for a 10-8 round.

Kingdom Arena Riyadh Undercard Results

Anthony Cacace TKO 8 Joe Cordina, Super Featherweights (0:39)

Cacace wins International Boxing Federation World Super Featherweight title

Cacace retains international Boxing Organization World Super Featherweight title

An apparent poor break signal by referee Bob Williams allowed Cacace to get in a left hook to the face of Cordina, who seemed not to recover from that moment on after being hit.

Jai Opetaia Win 12 Mairis Briedis, Cruiserweights

Opetaia regains vacant International Boxing Federation World Cruiserweight title

Ex-champ Briedis, age 39, gets a rematch after being out of the ring 22 months. Briedis remains technically sound. Opetaia wins 116-112, 116-112, 117-111. Opetaia had been stripped of the IBF belt before his December 2023 first round knockout of Ellis Zorro at Kingdom Arena.

Agit Kabayel KO 7 Frank Sanchez, Heavyweights (2:33)

Kabayel wins WBO NABO and WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight titles

Kabayel dropped Sanchez twice with body shots in round 7. Sanchez is counted out by referee Victor Loughlin. Kabayel rises to fourth in the worldwide BoxRec ratings.

Mark Chamberlain TKO 1 Joshua Wahab, Lightweights (2:42)

Chamberlain drops Wahah twice in first, and wins vacant WBC Silver Lightweight title

Robin Sirwan Safar Win 10 Sergei Kovalev, Cruiserweights

Former World Light Heavyweight champion Kovalev, age 41, get decked by a left-right combination by Safar with less than 10 seconds left in what could be the last bout of his career. Inconsistent scoring on the scorecards here, even with the 10-8 round in round ten.

Scoring: 99-90, 97-92, and 95-94 for Safar. Without the knockdown, Kovalev would have drawn the bout on one scorecard even if he lost the last round. Another judge did not give Kovalev a round.

Isaac Lowe Win 10 Hasibullah Ahmadi, Featherweights

Scoring: referee Mark Bates 97-92 for Isaac ‘The Westgate Warrior’ Lowe. Ahmadi down in round eight, bleeding from corner of left eye at bout’s conclusion. Nasty 10 round war.

Daniel Lapin KO 1 Octavio Pudivitr, Light Heavyweights (1:47)

Controversial ending. Putivitr was checking his nose in a corner after a punch. Ukrainian prospect Lapin landed some head shots and dropped Pudivitr with a body and head combination. However, Lapin landed tow head shots on Pudivitr, after Pudivitr was down. Pudivitr was counted out by referee Bob Williams.

David Nyika TKO 4 Michael Seitz, Cruiserweights (2:45)

New Zealand prospect Nyika wins vacant IBF International Cruiserweight title and a possible world title shot against IBF World Cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia.

Moses Itauma TKO 2 Ilja Mezencev, Heavyweights (0:50)

Itauma wins vacant WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight title

Overhand right hand by 9-0 British heavyweight prospect Itauma put Mezencev on his back, who beat the count but staggered around the ring on unsteady legs, forcing the stoppage by referee Howard Foster. Opening bout on Kingdom Arena card.

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