Oleksandr Usyk fought Anthony Joshua for the second time, in this heavyweight clash, at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday 20th August 2022.
The big fight was for most of the world heavyweight belts – all but the ones held by Morecambe’s finest Tyson Fury – the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles were up for grabs in this bout.
In this post, I’ll relay my thoughts, round-by-round, and also, as soon as practically and legally available from an official rights holder, I will embed a fight highlights video.
Usyk v Joshua 2 – Rewatch the Full Fight on Video
NEW! Now you can rewatch the full fight, in all it’s glory, in this video, courtesy of Sky Sports. Scroll down below for my round-by-round assessment too, and see if you agree with my takes. Leave a comment at the bottom with your thoughts on this bout, too.
The Ring Walk
Usyk probably had the better ring walk, as the champion, coming on, as a member of war-torn Ukraine, he definitely picked up the neutrals.
Round by Round
Usyk likely took the first two rounds, but Joshua looked to shade the third. Usyk probably shaded the fourth, but Joshua started to impose himself more in the fifth, where Usyk squirmed from a slightly low body shot.
In order for Joshua to win, it was felt he needed a fast start, however, so he needed to come out in the sixth and take it to Usyk, who was probably marginally ahead after 5 rounds.
Joshua did land some heavy shots in the sixth round, but Usyk was always countering with solid shots. The round was very close to call – probably Usyk’s, as the champ, meaning he was likely on top by at least two at the half-way stage.
In round seven, in the opening exchanges Usyk was the one to land, while Joshua looked to clinch for the first time in the bout. Neither of the pair was dominating centre ring, but both has begun to look a little leggy, and both fighters were slipping occasionally on the ring which was picking up sweat.
Usyk landed with a solid left mid-way through the seventh, while Joshua looked a little ponderous, biding his time. As the bell sounded, Usyk looked ready to unload.
Going into Round 8, Usyk was winning by at least two, and therefore Joshua would need to become more expansive than he had been, or face a second defeat.
The canvas was cleaned as both fighters slipped again, on a timeout.
Joshua landed a couple of heavy shots, which were audible, and got the partisan pro-AJ crowd, going, for a few moments, but Usyk didn’t look bothered, though he was slightly rocked backwards by one strong shot.
With 45 seconds left, Joshua managed to work a strong combination which did appear to slow down Usyk, for the first time in the bout, but, after regrouping, Usyk again imposed himself on the bigger man towards the end of the round, which finished with Joshua swinging quite wild shots way off the mark. Round was probably Joshua’s, but Usyk didn’t look fully flustered yet, going into the ninth.
The ninth was where Joshua turned it on, though. Midway through, he suddenly turned it on, and fully rocked his opponent with powerful combinations. Usyk was fully on the back foot for much of the second half of the round, which was clearly Joshua’s. Still behind, AJ had some momentum going into the tenth.
Usyk won the tenth with a lot more shots landed, in particular with the left, which caught Joshua flush at least twice, but Joshua did fire back with a few shots.
Going into the final two rounds, it looked like AJ needed a KO to get the straps back.
Usyk was winning the 11th with more good head movement and quick shots, before AJ landed a powerful body shot which hit the mark, and momentarily looked like it might be a turning point, before Usyk regrouped and resumed business as usual, just moving around and picking off his shots at will.
The 12th round opened with Usyk clearly leading by several rounds. Joshua needed to knock out his man, or this was going the same way as the first bout.
Joshua was the first to land a proper shot, with a solid left to the body, but once again he couldn’t follow up, as Usyk spun away from his man. He did get caught with a solid left to the head, but again, AJ was unable to capitalise, and ended up making an ungainly lunge, head-first, off-balance, towards his man.
Joshua looked a little desperate, in truth, as he knew his chance was gone, and Usyk began to land solid combinations from range, as Joshua was looking very tired.
The bell sounded, with a tired-looking Joshua trying to swing, but not landing anything of real worth, as the fight had gone. Usyk was by a clear margin the better boxer, and should win this bout clearly on points, by something like 8 rounds to 4, or better.
Despite this, one of the judges somewhat questionably had Joshua winning by two rounds, and Usyk won on a split decision, which must be regarded as controversial.
Highlights Video – Usyk Vs Joshua 2
Sky Sports posted these “Bitesize Highlights” which are the official non-pirated source for fight-fans who didn’t PPV – they mostly highlight AJ’s best moments from the bout:
Joshua Returns to Ring to Deliver Bemusing Speech
Anthony Joshua was clearly angry after the result was called, and appears to throw two belts out of the ring, before walking off towards the dressing room.
After walking off, Joshua about-turned, went in the ring, and delivered a lengthy and borderline disrespectful speech over the microphone, during which he frequently swore, and told how he came late to boxing, having been close to prison.