Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 – On Saturday night, a historic night unfolded before our eyes. Emotions ran high, sweat lubricated the canvas, blood ran down faces, knockouts sprung out and inevitably with boxing, controversy and high-octane action reigned supreme. Making sense of it all, here is a brief summary of the fights themselves.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2
Anthony Joshua made adjustments from the first fight and at the midpoint, the fight was closely contested. Joshua had his success with the body but Oleksandr Usyk’s accuracy was superior and his movement posed problems. Anthony Joshua had Usyk in trouble in the 9th, forcing him onto the backfoot and leaving him no option but to hold. But then Usyk turned the tables in the 10th as Joshua’s defences became somewhat inert. Usyk continued to come on strong in the remaining two championship rounds to conclusively best Joshua once again.
Hrgovic vs Zhang
A shock appeared on the horizon when a messy shot in the region of the back of the head downed Hrgovic in the first. Zhang built on that momentum early doors with bruising shots, backed up by a robust defence. However, the fight did ebb and flow, as Hrgovic also had his success with both men impeded by the slipperiness of a sweat-soaked canvas and fatigue. Remarkably, (given the power exhibited by both men in the ring), both saw the final bell and Hrgovic edged it on a split that arguably could have gone either way.
Smith vs Bauderlique
Bauderlique surprisingly came out all guns blazing and to his corner’s chagrin, Smith rose to his challenge of a shoot-out. As Bauderlique wrung in hooks, the sharper, cleaner work came from Smith. He clipped Bauderlique in the 4th, sending him down to the canvas before ruthlessly dispatching him with a left hook later on in the round that adds a consecutive highlight-reel knockout to Smith’s name.
Jack vs Rivera
Rivera had not been in with anyone near Jack’s calibre prior to the fight and lived up to his billing as an unknown quantity. His unorthodox ability to throw punches from any angle or stance he so desired, caught Jack off guard. The controversy came in the eighth when Jack hurt Rivera in the round but Rivera was forced to wait for his one-minute rest to recuperate, as the round went on for an extra minute due to the bell not ringing on time. Rivera had even more cause for disgruntlement when the judges gave the fight to Jack on a split, in spite of Rivera being on top for large quantities of the fight.
Ali vs Nova
History was made as Ramla Ali and Crystal Nova became the first professional female fighters to have a bout in Saudi Arabia. On paper, Nova was dangerous, with all 10 of her wins coming by way of knockout. Ali punched down with a right cross, sending Nova’s gumshield flying out and stumbling backwards into taking a knee, that she didn’t get back up in time from.
Whittaker vs Nosic
Whittaker showed a variance in his game, seeming more intent on walking down Nosic with single straight shots, then showboating to the max. There was still the odd sprinkling of defensive flair with jerky retreats of the head out of range. Whittaker looked strong but not deadly, which may be the cause of his dissatisfaction with his performance. However, he deserves credit for winning comfortably in a learning fight and one in which he also suffered an injury.
By Harry Duffy