Usyk staged a nightmare night for Russians by destroying their favorite: 5 years ago the Ukrainian became the absolute champion
On the night of July 21-22, 2018, Oleksandr Usyk joined the elite list of absolute world champions. In Moscow, to the great disappointment of the majority of the spectators of the "Olympic" Ukrainian masterfully defeated the Russian Murat Gassiev and became the winner of the World Boxing Super Series in the first heavyweight, winning four major belts and the Mohammed Ali Cup.
The bout was originally supposed to take place in Jeddah on May 11, 2018. On the one hand, the clash of champions was to make boxing in Saudi Arabia more popular, but on the other hand Oleksandr did not want to go to the country that occupied his native Crimea and unleashed a war on his land. The Russians really wanted to host the final fight of the season featuring Usyk and their "Ossetian".
However, Oleksandr was injured and did not have time to recover by May 11. The Saudis dropped out as well. No matter how much the Ukrainian's team resisted, the fight was held exactly in Moscow. Initially, Usyk was considered the favorite, but by July 20, the bookmakers' odds were equalized.
Perhaps the faith in the Russian was based on the fact that the Crimean's semifinal bout with Latvian WBC champion Mairis Briedis proved to be very difficult for Oleksandr. He won thanks to the votes of the majority of judges. Gassiev, in his turn, knocked out WBA champion Yunier Dorticos n the 12th round at this stage.
In addition, Usyk's recent injury could have encouraged Russian fans. The Ukrainian's fall in Moscow by the hands of their fighter and in a fight for four belts would have been a real gift for the Russians. But Oleksandr had his own plans.
A bad call for Murat was the fact that the coach's spot in Usyk's corner was taken by Anatoly Lomachenko, who easily figured out the RF native's tactics. The Ukrainian was faster than Gassiev, dominating the entire fight. Oleksandr delivered 252 punches, deftly dodging his opponent's fists, and after the 12th round no one had any doubts that it was Usyk who would have his hand raised.
Ukrainians, who were able to get on the stands in Moscow, supported Oleksandr with all their might during all 12 rounds. The first thing after the fight was his urge to thank them, saying the already catch phrase about his father: "Olimpiysky, thank you! People, fellow countrymen! Thank you all for your support. Moscow-2018, bye: Boss has arrived!".
Oleksandr defeated Gassiev by unanimous decision of the judges with 120:108 and twice 119:109, receiving the title of absolute champion, an exclusive Ali Cup and a cash prize of 10 million dollars.
Oleksandr also dedicated his victory to his fathers, noting that his dad, unfortunately, is no longer alive.
"But I think he sees what's going on. He pushed me to go into boxing. He was the first one who believed in me. My second father is my first trainer. He taught me how to step, punch, box and love the sport. Another father is the president of the club I started out in. He said if I work hard, I will succeed. Another father is Anatoly Lomachenko. I want to stand up and bow low to them," Usyk said after the fight.
Former IBF and WBA super champion Gassiev had no choice but to call the fight a great experience and promise to come back stronger.
"We knew he would move, strike in series. We should have deprived him of space and not let him work. But today he acted much better than I did. You can feel the difference: the opponent has a big amateur school. Usyk has much more fights. We saw the weaknesses and we will work on improving them. We will come back much stronger," Gassiev said.
"Usyk did a masterful job of rebounding in that fight. It was a nightmare night for Murat, but he took a lot from that fight. This fight pitted a boxer with 25 amateur fights against a gold medalist who has fought all over the world," coach Abel Sanchez justified his charge's defeat.
Russian boxing fans, however, claimed that that night Usyk destroyed the career of the Russian, who had never lost before.
It is curious that for the fights of that season of the World Superseries, starting from the quarterfinals, Usyk went ou to the familiar song "Yikhaly kozaky" performed by the group "Tin Sontsya". For the Crimean boxer Vasyl Zhadan wrote a special composition "Braty", which was played at the Olimpiyskiy in Moscow.
The lines from Usyk's song "and we brothers, like falcons, in a free land we grew up in, we will not give our land to anyone, we'd rather die in battle" now look like a warning to Russians. But, as we see today, they did not listen carefully ....
Earlier OBOZREVATEL reported that Usyk officially became a player of the UPL club.