JD Sports | August 22, 2022

Usyk v Joshua II: What Went Down

Our guy AJ’s bid to reclaim the heavyweight crown in his encounter with Oleksandr Usyk ended in defeat as the Ukrainian won by split decision.

Billed as the Rage on the Red Sea, the two fighters took to the ring at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in front of a 12,000-capacity crowd and in humid conditions – despite the first bell sounding at 01:00 local time.


With two of the judges’ scorecards reading 115-113 and 116-112 to Usyk and the other 115-113 in favour of Joshua, this fight proved a much closer affair than the first meeting, but the Briton is still off the pace of one of the pound-for-pound greats.


‘The Cat’ Keeps His Crown

As round one commenced, fans were keen to see any obvious changes made to Joshua’s game plan since forming a recent partnership with his new coach Robert Garcia.


The opening few rounds proved cagey, but favoured Usyk’s work rate over Joshua’s sparing shots.


The fifth round saw Joshua land a low blow on Usyk, giving him time to recover and go again.


This gave the champion more impetus heading into round six, picking out a classy combination from range to catch the judges’ attention.


Now dictating the tempo in the middle portion of the fight, Usyk used his movement to counter strongly in the seventh, while AJ targeted the body in the following round – clearly seeing it as Usyk’s weak point.


Fans didn’t have to wait long for this to spark something in the challenger. Joshua unloaded everything in the ninth to have Usyk on the backfoot; however, this proved to be his downfall, tiring easily and allowing Usyk to dominate the championship rounds and stay unified heavyweight champion.


After an emotional reaction post fight, our guy AJ hinted at November or December as his next fight, marking the start of his comeback.


For Usyk, a potential mega fight with Tyson Fury could be in the pipeline. Time will only tell…


AJ’s Unwavering Support

To celebrate the epic event out in Saudi Arabia, we partnered up with Klarna and invited some of our fave faces to show up and show their support at Box Park Croydon, London.


Taking over the Box Park balcony, the likes of Isaac (@manlikeisaac), Zeze Millz (@zezemillz), Joe Weller (@joeweller), Joanna Chimonides (@joannachimonides) and many more were joined by our host for the evening Kyle Walker (@kylewalker115).


Kitted out in fresh Under Armour apparel and accessories from their bespoke JD x UA gift box, our crew enjoyed a night full of action, including a 360 photobooth, a huge range of mouth-watering food and drink choices and even a punch bag challenge – which got pretty competitive! 🥊👀


When the main event came around, they joined the sold-out crowd in cheering our guy AJ on from the first bell to the last!


Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for AJ, but we know he’ll come back stronger than ever.


Inspired by Usyk and AJ? Grab the latest boxing essentials from our range right here!


And for more behind the scenes access to all the biggest Matchroom fights, make sure you’re following @jdsports across our socials.

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