In mid-May, Fury and Hahn each announced a midsummer match agreement between Joshua and Fury, putting the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF belts at stake. A few days later, the judge ruled that he had to fight Fury in place of Wilder, who filed an injunction to enforce the rematch clause in his previous fight with Fury. Fury and Wilder plan to meet again, but the WBO orders Joshua to face Usyk.
“Maybe I should have swung him around and put the belt in the trash,” Hahn said at a news conference, showing that a fighter in Joshua’s profile could open the title without losing visibility. “But that’s not the purpose of AJ.”
The advantage for fighting fans is a series of high stakes and competitive heavyweight fights between well-known branded fighters whose profile does not depend on the title belt. Joshua is not famous because he had a WBO belt. The WBO belt gets a lot of attention because Joshua had it.
“Do you still see it without a title belt?” Joshua rhetorically asked reporters at a post-combat press conference.
The odds maker held the title better than the older, smaller Usyk, in favor of Joshua, who was 6 feet 6 tall and weighed 240 pounds. However, Usyk used his excellent footwork and hand speed to make a fuss about Joshua early on. Joshua soared in the middle round, eventually landing his jab and hitting some heavy bodies.
By the 9th round, damage was seen on each fighter’s face. Joshua had a puffy right eye, and Usyk had a red welt under each eye, and eventually had a cut on his right eyebrow. However, Usyk produced output in the final quarter of the battle and won the final four rounds with all the judges’ cards.
Joshua called this battle a “great experience.”
This is a charitable statement that Usyk took Joshua to school. According to CompuBox, Usyk landed 148 of the 529 punches, while Joshua landed 123 of the 641. Usyk also landed 44% of the power punches (96 out of 220), while Joshua landed 33% (71 out of 214).