Anthony Joshua failed in his bid to reclaim the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles from Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch in Saudi Arabia. The Ukrainian heavyweight won the match via a split decision to retain his titles.
Having lost to Usyk in September 2021 via a unanimous decision, Anthony Joshua sought to exact revenge on the Ukrainian fighter and recapture the titles that were taken from him. The rematch had been arranged since September 2021, four days after the original bout in London.
Joshua started the fight in Jeddah looking much better than he did in their first meeting 11 months ago. The 32-year-old tried to punish the champion by outboxing him but Usyk was quite calculated in his approach, showing a variety of skills to remain on top of the situation. The Ukrainian showed a lot of composure and experience to limit Joshua to shots that would be deemed as not dangerous. Joshua was slightly superior in the opening rounds while Usyk was clearly better in the middle rounds.
Both fighters slugged it out in the middle of the ring and Joshua enjoyed his best spell in the eighth and ninth rounds as he looked to press home his advantage and secure a knockout. Usyk held his own and reserved his energy before launching an onslaught in the final three rounds as Joshua was clearly fatigued.
Two judges ruled the fight 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk, while the third ruled it as 115-113 to Joshua. The split-decision win for Usyk means he has now defeated Joshua in consecutive attempts, handing the 32-year-old only his third professional defeat.