"Usyk slipped, and he started hitting him": the fight in Poland, which brought the Ukrainian boxer a historic title
On August 26 in Wroclaw, world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) had the most scandalous fight of his career against Daniel Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs) because of the British super featherweight's team, who shouted that in the fifth round the referee should have counted the Ukrainian a knockdown instead of fixing a punch below the belt. And before that Poland was a kind of birthplace of the Crimean champion, because it was there that Usik got his first full title.
Almost 7 years ago, in September 2016, Oleksandr had his 10th fight in the professional ring in Gdansk and won the WBO world title in the first heavyweight division, defeating Poland's Krzysztof Glowacki (26-1, 16 KOs) in his home ring. And at the same time broke the record of the legendary Evander Holyfield.
At the time of their meeting at the Ergo Arena, the Ukrainian title challenger had fought 50 rounds as a pro - an average of 5.55 rounds per fight. Whereas world champion Glowacki worked three times as many rounds - 151, and he needed an average of 5.8 rounds to win.
Today, Usyk is called an away champion, while in September 2016 both unbeaten boxers were considered "home": the Pole fought 24 of 26 fights on home soil, while Oleksandr fought eight of nine fights in Ukraine.
The 190-centimeter Crimean was 7 centimeters taller than his opponent and had the same advantage in arm span. However, everyone realized that it would be a difficult fight for 29-year-old Oleksandr. Polish border guards only chuckled condescendingly when they heard during passport control that we were going to fight and Usyk would take the title away from their favorite.
The majority of the audience at the 15,000-seat Ergo Arena in Gdansk, which was packed, had no doubts about Glowacki's success. However, Oleksandr's fans were also well represented - due to Ukrainians working in Poland and boxing fans who came specially for the fight, who periodically chanted "Usyk! Usik", breaking through the deafening whistle of the Poles.
Although the Crimean failed to finish the fight early, it was held with a tangible advantage of Alexander. Usyk maximally calculatedly threw out his punches, which tested the strength of his opponent, and quick feet helped him to escape from Glowacki's attacks. And if the opening rounds could still be called equal, then from the middle of the fight Usik controlled its course.
Krzysztof tried to take the Ukrainian by surprise with his explosive attacks, but it didn't bring much result. Once Oleksandr found himself on the ring floor, but only because he slipped. Therefore, it is not surprising that at the end of 12 rounds all judges gave victory to Usik 119:109, 117:111 and 117:111.
"The first five or six rounds the fight was very close, but then Usyk looked better due to good physical conditions. Remember when we signed Usyk a few years ago, we promised that we would give him the opportunity to fight for the world title? We realized this opportunity!" - said former WBC world champion and Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, who was present in Gdansk.
Klitschko allowed for a future rematch between Glowacki and Usyk, who was the mandatory challenger before the fight. However, the second meeting never took place.
"What was the hardest part of the fight? To fulfill what we said and worked on in training, not to get into a fight, which Krzysztof wanted. Although sometimes I wanted to "make fun". I had a desire to finish with a knockout. I just had to work hard, Krzysztof was missing some pretty hard punches and holding them. It was drawing me into the chopping block, but I held back. Why did you fall in the 12th round? From sunstroke (laughs). No, I just stumbled," Usyk told the media.
The coach of the Ukrainian Sergey Vatamaniuk after the fight noted that he did not even doubt the victory of the Ukrainian: "I think he won every round. There was no knockdown in the last round, Sasha just slipped somehow. And here Krzysztof did not behave well: Sasha slipped, and he started to hit him. But the referee didn't even start counting, because he is an experienced referee and has judged many fights".
"Sasha was preparing exactly for the best version of the Pole, which I understand was by far. Look at the way he held the punch. He missed, but he held it. He was trying to hit his signature punch. He was doing all the things he was supposed to do. What he did in previous fights," Vatamaniuk added.
On September 17, 2016, Usyk not only became world champion in the first heavyweight division, inflicting his first defeat on Glowacki, but also broke the record of legendary American Evander Holyfield for the fastest time to win the title for cruiserweight boxers.
Oleksandr won his belt in the 10th fight on the pro ring, while Holyfield did it in the 12th fight back in 1986. And after that Usyk went home to his family, whom he missed during his training.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL told what Dubois scared Usyk and what unpleasant truth about the punch below the belt told the British media.