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Oleksandr Usyk Knocks Out Daniel Dubois

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In front of tens of thousands of his Ukrainian supporters, Oleksandr Usyk defeated Daniel Dubois in the ninth round on an emotional night on Saturday in Wroclaw, Poland.

At the Stadion Wroclaw, Usyk successfully completed the second defense of his WBA, IBF, and WBO world heavyweight belts by forcing a knockdown in the eighth round and finishing Dubois in the ninth.

But there was some disagreement after the battle.

Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs), who was competing for the first time since last August, dominated his opponent but suffered a severe scare in the fifth round when he was knocked out by what Dubois and his crew believed to be a true body blow. Referee Luis Pabon determined it to be a low blow, nevertheless.

Usyk was given some breathing room before the fight continued, and there was no count.

The plan to appeal and strive for a rematch was announced by Dubois and his team.

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

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

Usyk, 36, of Crimea, Ukraine, defeated Dubois of Greenwich, south London, to earn his sixth victory over an English boxer in a world title match. Usyk had previously defeated Anthony Joshua (twice), Derek Chisora, and Tony Bellew.

Usyk now intends to square off against fellow Englishman and current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a fight to determine the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 2024.

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

With Ukraine at war with Russia and unable to host international sporting events, the Polish city of Wroclaw is home to a sizable Ukrainian community, making this the closest Usyk could go to defending his domestic championship.

“I’m grateful for my family and the Ukrainian army,” Usyk said in his postfight interview.

After a video greeting from the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was shown at the stadium, Usyk, who has served alongside Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines, entered the ring.

Dubois has strong power, but in his most recent fights, which included a stoppage loss to Joe Joyce in 2020 and a difficult third-round victory over Kevin Lerena in December, where he was floored three times before getting up, he appeared vulnerable.

On Saturday, Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs), 26, was unable to contain Usyk in the early rounds because to his southpaw talents, fluid mobility, and ring savvy.

In the first round of his maiden world title bout, Dubois was caught by a couple of hard southpaw jabs, and in the second, Usyk connected with two left hands on the challenger.

However, Dubois didn’t give in immediately and was able to land a right uppercut to the body.

Usyk was aggressive, and his punches became more frequent as the rain began to fall in the outdoor venue.

The champion was in complete control until he was knocked out early in the fifth round by what Pabon ruled to be an unlawful low blow. Usyk was left on the canvas hurt after the right hand, which appeared to be on the verge. When the battle resumed after Pabon had given Usyk some time to rest, Usyk needed some time to get back into his stride.

As his confidence rose, Dubois caught Usyk on the bell in the sixth round with a left hook to the body.

Usyk, however, stepped up his onslaught in the seventh round and attempted to force the knockout by landing a string of left punches that made Dubois appear dazed.

Dubois was performing well in the eighth round when Usyk saw an opening on the counter and connected with four punches to the challenger’s top of the head, sending him to the canvas. At the ninth count, Dubois stood up, and the bell then came to his aid.

Usyk refrained from letting Dubois land another blow because he knew the knockdown was imminent. Usyk knocked Dubois out just 48 seconds into the ninth round when he leaped into a short, straight right that put the opponent on the canvas and caused him to be ruled out.

Aadam Hamed, the “Prince” Naseem Hamed’s son who was the world featherweight champion in the 1990s, made his professional debut in Wroclaw on the undercard, stopping Vojtech Hrdy in the first round in a super lightweight fight.

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