So here we are basking in the aftermath of another fantastic Matchroom Boxing Promotion. Eddie Hearn and his team have once again managed to bring together the best of the best in boxing and in front of a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The event was live across the UK & Ireland on Sky Sports Box Office and streamed worldwide on streaming platform DAZN (excluding UK & Ireland, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, China and Israel)
Now let’s get into it the first fight on the main event was a light heavyweight match up between Ukrainian Daniel Lapin and Polish slugger Pawel Martyniuk. The Ukrainian was able to etch out his opponent with a points decision victory over the 6 round battle.
Next up we had a Middleweight Cold War for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental Middleweight Title. The American Christopher Ousley against the Russian Khasan Baysangurov. This went the full 10 rounds and the American came on top with a majority decision and claimed the vacant title.
Another title was on the line next, this time it was the IBF International Welterweight Title. Reigning Champion Maxim Prodan was putting not only his title but also his undefeated record on the line against also undefeated welterweight Florian Marku. For a match up that had some hostility pre fight, we saw a very composed Marku, who found his range early and took the lead with some accurate jabs. The jabs enabled him to tag Prodan with some crisp combinations and it was clear that by the end of round 6 that he had the fight wrapped up. But as we have seen far too often with boxing the decision was given as a split decision to Marku and he became the New IBF International Welterweight Champion.
Making his first appearance since receiving his first career loss Callum Smith was making his debut at light-heavyweight. He faced off against Lenin Castillo and while it was an aggressive opening round there wasn’t to be much action. In the opening minute of the second round, Smith landed a right to Castillo’s temple. Castillo instantly hit the canvas where he was out cold. Medics quickly entered the ring and he was stretchered off and taken straight to hospital. He was released hours later after been given the all clear from doctors. The question now will be when will Smith rematch the man who took his super-middleweight belts. That man is of course Canelo Alvarez.
The next fight was a judges farce. Campbell Hatton was taking on Sonni Martinez in a 6 round lightweight battle. For all of his aggression Hatton was just loading way too much on his punches and because of this Martinez was able to land clean shots. What should have been a comfortable win for Martinez was taken away and a points decision was awarded to Hatton. After the match promoter Eddie Hearn reported that he had told Campbell’s father, Boxing Legend Ricky Hatton that they should offer Martinez a rematch as we all knew that Campbell was given a free win.
The Co-Main Event was another title fight seeing Lawrence Okolie defend his WBO Cruiserweight Belt against Dilan Prašović. What was scheduled for a 12 round marathon ended up being a 3 round sprint. Okolie retained his belt with a knockout in the 3rd round.
After a entertaining fight night, I was pumped for this main event. For me this was the most important heavyweight fight of the year. Was Anthony Joshua able to push the demons and naysayers away and cement his legacy or would we see a new heavyweight king. As I spoke briefly in my preview , Usyk to me is the better boxer and his fight IQ is far superior.
In the opening rounds we see Usyk landing jabs at will. He was getting inside and landing his shots and was finding ways to get back to the outside to make Joshua miss. Joshua for me was showing signs mentally that he was struggling. I knew this would be his biggest test.
I had Usyk up after 5 rounds as his speed, accuracy and footwork was just far too much for Joshua to combat. BUT!!! Just as a true champion does Joshua dug deep. He started to land strong shots to Usyk’s body and it started to show.
Just when it looked like Joshua was pushing ahead, Usyk regained his composure and in my eyes won the last four rounds. Both men looked like they had been through a war and showed signs that each of them had taken damage.
After the judges deliberation the scores were revealed and announced Oleksandr Usyk as the NEW WBA (Super), IBF, WBO & IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World. I found the result justified and knew that Usyk’s IQ, speed and accuracy would push Joshua into deep water that he would struggle to overcome. In saying this Joshua did have his chances, especially through the middle rounds where he began to unload on Usyk’s midsection. Joshua didn’t continue this strategy and Usyk quickly worked this out and took himself away and kept on the outside and composed himself.
As excited as I was for this fight I knew it could be a lose lose situation from some of the many keyboard warrior fans out there. If Anthony Joshua had won, then he had just beaten a Cruiserweight who was out of his depth. And if he had lost (which he did) He was an overrated trumped up fake with a glass jaw who lost to a Cruiserweight. This hurts on so many levels. Joshua made a mistake to try and outbox a superior boxer. He was bigger and stronger than Usyk and should have used that to his advantage. But also Oleksandr Usyk is a underrated and very talented boxer who wore down Joshua.
I look forward to the rematch between the two. Does Anthony Joshua have what it takes to reclaim what was once his? He did it after his loss to Andy Ruiz, champions always have a way to fight back and claim redemption. On the other hand at 34 years of age, Oleksandr Usyk is nearing the twilight of his career and I would love to see him go on and claim a long reign and achieve what Joshua should have been afforded and that is the true Unification of the Heavyweight Titles.
Both of those outcomes are outcomes that I as a fan would love to see. We all love a comeback story – think Rocky Balboa, but the flip side Oleksandr Usyk brings a class to boxing that we haven’t seen for many decades. So that being said we have to wait on bated breath and see what the boxing gods have in store.