Despite some scares, Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk managed to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles in the heavyweight category, dominating British hopeful Daniel Dubois by KO, on the night of Saturday to Sunday August 27, at Wroclaw in Poland.
Announced as the great favorite, the 36-year-old world champion could have seen his belts fly away during a fifth round where he found himself on the ground, his breath taken from a blow received at the level of the belt. The referee gave him five minutes to recover, a much-discussed decision among specialists in the noble art. And this same referee decided to stop the fight in the ninth round after a second passage on the ground by Dubois.
In the ring of the Stadion Tarczynski in Wroclaw (western Poland), won over to his cause, the king of the premier category dedicated his victory to ” (her) country and the Ukrainian army »for which he had volunteered last year.
Low blow and scandal
As usual, the 2012 Olympic champion had made this fight a platform for Ukraine, visible in his mouth guard and his blue and yellow shoes, and the anthem sung at full throttle before the big explanation. The public and viewers were also treated to a recorded speech by Volodymyr Zelensky as a prelude. “Ukraine is fighting with the strength you will see, the strength of our people as powerful as Oleksandr Usyk”declared in particular the Ukrainian president.
Daniel “Dynamite” Dubois, however, almost spoiled the demonstration. The 25-year-old Londoner, in unison with his camp, was very upset against the arbitration decisions, in particular the one which allowed Usyk to recover his senses, believing that it was a legal attack and not in a low blow. The post-match thus took place in a tense atmosphere, the Briton’s team crying foul.
Dubois had entered the ring with the reputation of a punchy outsider, but with much more meager experience and references than Usyk, undefeated in 20 fights before Saturday’s. The duel had been organized, at the request of the WBA, after the failure of negotiations to organize a unification fight against Briton Tyson Fury who holds the WBC heavyweight belt.
Usyk had conquered the three belts in September 2021 against holder Anthony Joshua, before retaining them in a rematch organized in August 2022.