Oleksandr Usyk survives scare, stops Daniel Dubois to retain titles

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Oleksandr Usyk knocked out Daniel Dubois in the ninth round on an emotional night in front of thousands of his Ukrainian fans in Wroclaw, Poland on Saturday.

Usyk forced a knockdown in the eighth round and then finished Dubois in the ninth round to end the second defense of his WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles at Stadion Wrocław.

But the fight did not end without controversy.

Fighting for the first time since last August, Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) dominated his opponent but was given a painful scare in the fifth round when he was dropped by what Dubois and his team thought was a legitimate body shot. . However, referee Luis Pabon gave it a low blow. No count was given, and Usyk was given time to recover before the fight resumed.

Dubois and his team said they plan to appeal and push for a rematch.

“I didn’t think it was a low blow, and I was cheated out of the win,” Dubois said.

Promoter Frank Warren said: “If it was a low blow, why didn’t he take a point away from Daniel? It was a hometown decision. How can you not order a rematch on the strength of that? We will appeal what happened here. “

Usyk, 36, from Crimea, Ukraine, defeated Anthony Joshua (twice), Derek Chisora ​​and Tony Bellew before defeating Dubois from Greenwich, south London, for his fifth win over an English boxer in a world title fight.

Usyk now hopes to face another Englishman, WBC titleholder Tyson Fury, in a showdown to be crowned the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 2024.

“I’m ready for Tyson Fury tomorrow,” Usyk said after defeating Dubois. “I’m ready for the next fight to fight Tyson Fury, but Tyson Fury, I have no idea.”

The Polish city of Wrocław has a large Ukrainian population, and with Ukraine at war with Russia and unable to stage international sporting events, it was a close call for a home title defense for Usyk.

“I am grateful for my family and the Ukrainian army,” Yusik said in his post-war interview.

Usyk, who has spent time on the front lines with Ukrainian soldiers, made his ring entrance after playing a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the stadium.

Dubois has impressive power, but has looked weak in his recent fights, including a stoppage loss to Joe Joyce in 2020 and a tough third-round win over Kevin Llerena in December where he was knocked down three times before recovering.

On Saturday, Usic’s southpaw skills, fluid movements and ring intelligence were too much for Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs), 26, to contain in the early rounds.

Dubois was caught by a couple of hard southpaw jabs in the first round of his first world title fight, and in the second, Usyk landed two left hands on his opponent.

But Dubois wasn’t overwhelmed early on and managed to land a right upper body.

Usyk was intense, and his punches flowed more freely as the rain poured down on the outdoor stadium.

The champion was well in control, but at the start of the fifth round, Paban ruled he sank to the canvas with what was an illegal low blow. The right hand looked borderline, and it left Usyk in pain on the canvas. Pabon gave Usyk a few minutes to recover, and when the fight resumed, Usyk took a minute before returning to his groove.

Dubois landed a left hook to the body in the sixth round and took Usyk to the bell as his confidence grew.

But Usyk went on the attack in the seventh round and tried to force the knockout with a series of left hands that made Dubois look bored.

In the eighth round, Dubois was doing well until Usyk got a chance to counter and drop the challenger to his knees with four punches to the head. Dubois went up for nine and was then rescued by Bell.

Usyk sensed the knockout was near and didn’t let Dubois land another punch. Just 48 seconds into the ninth round, Usyk finished Dubois when he landed a short, straight right that sent the challenger to the canvas and he was counted out.

On the undercard in Wroclaw, Adam Hamed, son of “Prince” Nasim Hamed, who reigned as world featherweight champion in the 1990s, made a quick professional debut by stopping Vojtech Hrdy in the first round of a super lightweight bout.

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