Tyson Fury laments 'daftest decision' after split-decision loss to Usyk in Saudi Arabia

Britain’s Tyson Fury, right, takes a blow from Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk || X

Tyson Fury laments 'daftest decision' after split-decision loss to Usyk in Saudi Arabia

Festus Chuma 10:05 - 19.05.2024

Tyson Fury suffered his first professional defeat in a dramatic split-decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia.

Tyson Fury suffered a split-decision points defeat on a dramatic night in Saudi Arabia as Oleksandr Usyk became boxing's first four-belt undisputed heavyweight champion. 

On a grand stage and on a legacy-defining night, Briton Fury began well but was given a standing 10 count and saved by the bell after an Usyk onslaught in the ninth round.

In a tense wait for the scorecards to be read out, Fury appeared convinced of victory before a stony-faced Usyk broke down in tears when he was confirmed as the winner.

 "I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority," a defiant Fury said in the ring. "It was one of the daftest decisions in boxing. I'll be back."

The scorecards read 115-112 and 114-113 for the Ukrainian, with a third judge scoring it 114-113 to Fury. It meant Fury, 35, lost for the first time in a 16-year professional career. 

He will get an immediate opportunity for revenge with a rematch planned for later this year.

Usyk takes the WBC belt from Fury, to add to his WBA, WBO, and IBF collection. The 37-year-old remains unbeaten and is the first boxer in almost 25 years to stand tall as the sport's sole heavyweight world champion. 

"Thank you so much to my team. It's a big opportunity for my family, for me, for my country. It's a great time, it's a great day," Usyk said. "I am ready for a rematch."

Usyk – a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion – prevailed in a fight of two halves at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena, propelling himself into the conversation to be considered an all-time great. 

After a lack of buzz and noise in the arena for the undercard, not unusual for a Saudi card, a crowd of 20,000 that included famous faces such as Cristiano Ronaldo found their voice for the main event.

Usyk – resembling a warrior – made his entrance wearing a striking all-green traditional Ukrainian outfit, his eyes fixated on the ring. In contrast to Usyk's sternness, a playful Fury sang and danced to Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero." 

He raced to the ring and headed straight to Usyk's corner, goading his opponent to the enjoyment of 2,500 traveling British fans.

As the two champions advanced to the center of the ring at the chime of the first bell, the painstakingly long wait to crown an undisputed champion was about to end. 

A smiling and brazen Fury showboated his way through the first round. Even when Usyk landed a solid left hook and backed him into the corner, the 'Gypsy King' dismissively laughed it off. 

Fury responded with two painful-looking uppercuts to Usyk's midriff in the second.

The height and reach advantage of Fury seemed too much of a puzzle for Usyk to solve, or so it seemed. Usyk, guilty of starting slowly in the past, was badly hurt by an uppercut in the sixth as the fight appeared to be slipping away. 

But he spectacularly came back in an astonishing ninth round. After a barrage of overhand lefts, a dazed Fury staggered around the ring – seemingly out on his feet – and into the ropes.

He was given a 10 count before the bell rang as the momentum suddenly swung in Usyk's favor. 

This was not the boring, tactical, chess-like match-up some pundits predicted, but a barnstormer, living up to the pre-fight hype from fans and promoters. 

Another bruising left hand caught Fury in the 11th. The pair touched gloves before the 12th – there was a feeling there was still all to play for.

Ultimately, it was a spirited Usyk who edged a competitive final round, securing his victory. 

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