Usyk outclasses Fury to become undisputed heavyweight champion

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Usyk outclasses Fury to become undisputed heavyweight champion
Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk (L) ignored Tyson Fury's taunts and showboating early on to win in Riyadh | Courtesy

AGENCIES | Tyson Fury was saved by the referee and then the bell in the ninth but ultimately not the judges as Oleksandr Usyk took a split decision to win the world's first undisputed heavyweight championship in 25 years on Sunday.

Ukrainian Usyk ignored several taunts and showboating by Britain's Fury in the early rounds inside the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as he landed his shots home.

'Gypsy King' Fury gradually took charge from the fourth round and controlled the fifth and six rounds after inflicting a cut to Usyk's upper right eye.

But after failing to inflict further damage on the Ukrainian as he targeted his right eye, Fury nearly paid the price and was saved by Welsh referee Mark Nelson - who somehow called a count even as Fury's body had not kissed the canvas - and then the bell in the ninth round.

The moment came after Usyk had caught Fury with a hard left to the nose, leaving the towering Briton bleeding and having to repeatedly wipe his nose with his glove.

Usyk took unprecedented feat in boxing's four-belt era and while Fury slumped to his first career defeat.

Two judges scored the fight 115-112 and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, with a third judge scoring it 114-113 to Fury, who lost for the first time in a 16-year professional career.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk celebrates his victory at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday | Courtesy-Internet

The Briton, 35, will get an immediate opportunity for revenge with a rematch planned for later this year after both fighters immediately welcomed the possibility for an October decider.

"I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority," Fury said in the ring.

"It was one of the daftest decisions in boxing. I'll be back."

Usyk takes the WBC belt from Fury, to add to his WBA, WBO and IBF collection.

The 37-year-old remains unbeaten and joins the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Mike Tyson as undisputed heavyweight champion, the first since boxing recognised four major belts in the 2000s.

"Thank you so much to my team. It's a big opportunity for my family, for me, for my country. It's a great time, it's a great day," Usyk said.

"Yes, of course. I am ready for a rematch."

With the win, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion can legitimately claim to be the best of this era, although a rematch expected in October could provide another twist.

Britain's Lennox Lewis was the last man to unify the heavyweight belts - three at the time - after beating Evander Holyfield in 1999.

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