In a shocking surprise, Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) outboxed IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) in winning a 12 round unanimous decision. The scores were 117-112, 116, 112, and 116-112,
Usyk had Joshua badly hurt and on the verge of being knocked out in the 12th round. Joshua barely made it out of the ring but was a beaten man.
Usyk’s defense was too good for Joshua, as he was able to stay out of the way of the big shots from the 6’6″ Brit.
Joshua appeared to give away the first three rounds before coming on in the middle of the fight. However, Usyk turned it back up in the championship rounds and retook control of the fight to cruise to a clear victory.
Now it’s up to Joshua to decide if he wants to use his rematch clause to fight Usyk again or play it safe and go in another direction. That might be a better idea if you’re Joshua because he doesn’t seem fast enough to handle the movement of Usyk.
WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (17-0, 14 KOs) retained his title with an impressive third round knockout victory over mandatory Dilan Prasovic (15-1, 12 KOs) in a two knockdown performance.
The 6’5″ dropped Prasovic with a right uppercut in round two after hurting him with a right hand to the back of the head.
In the third round, Okolie nailed Prasovic with a left to the body moments after having him in a headlock. The hard body shot sent Prasovic down on the canvas in agony.
At first, it looked like Prasovic would get back up, but he was in too much pain to beat the count. The time of the stoppage was at 1:57 of round three.
“I settled into the fight and got the job done,” said Okolie. “That’s the main thing being patient. Me personally, I like Briedis,” said Okolie when asked who he wants to fight next. “He’s the one I’m most after.”
IBF cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis is a big step up for Okolie to take from his fight with Prasovic. It might be better for Okolie to get a few more fights under his belt before taking on Briedis.
Campbell Hatton defeated Sonni Martinez
Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (4-0) went through a total war tonight in beating Uruguay fighter Sonni Martinez (2-5) by a close six round points decision.
The 20-year-old Campbell, the son of British boxing great Ricky Hatton, was walking into big shots from Martinez throughout the six round contest. Martinez couldn’t miss with his shots, as Campbell was leading with his face and making it easy for him.
Hatton was getting hit a lot through the first four rounds, and there were concerns by some whether Martinez would knock him out.
But to Hatton’s credit, he fought well in the fifth and sixth round to pull out the victory by a narrow margin.
In the end, referee Marcus McDonnell scored it for Hatton 58-57. Campbell has the same fighting style as his famous dad Ricky Hatton, but he lacks the pop in his punches. As Campbell gets older, his power should improve.
Tonight, Campbell was fighting a much older guy in 29-year-old Martinez, and that might explain why he didn’t have the same kind of power.
Callum Smith destroys Lenin Castillo
Former WBA 168-lb champion Callum Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) looked lethal in his first fight at 175 tonight with a second round knockout win over Lenin Castillo (21-4-1, 16 KOs).
Coming off a loss to Canelo Alvarez in his last fight in December, Callum went on the attack immediately, nailing Castillo with big punches to the head and hard left hooks to the body in round one.
In the second round, Callum unleashed a hard overhand right that caught Castillo clean, sending him down on his back on the canvas. Both of Castillo’s legs were shaking, and he was out cold from the punch.
The referee immediately stopped the fight. A short while later, Castillo was stretchered out of the ring.. As of the time of this writing, Castillo has reportedly regained consciousness at a nearby hospital
Callum showed excellent punching power in the fight, but no real change from what we’ve seen from him in the past.
Given the quick knockout, it’s still too early to know if Callum is a better fighter at 175 than he was at 168. The reason Callum struggled in his last two fights at super middleweight against Canelo and John Ryder was his decision to back up against the ropes when being pressured.
Tonight, Callum didn’t get put under pressure by Castillo, so we don’t know if he’ll revert to form when he does fight someone that will put it on him.
You got to imagine that when Callum does face the likes of Joshua Buatsi, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, and Joe Smith Jr., they’ll come at him and be looking to back him up the way Canelo and Ryder did.
Florian Marku defeats Maxim Prodan
Unbeaten ‘Albanian King’ Florian Marku (9-0-1, 6 KOs) put in a fine performance, beating IBF International welterweight champion Maxim Prodan (19-1-1, 15 KOs) by a 10 round split decision.