Vitali Klitschko: Usyk did a perfect job, it was a great fight

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The first Ukrainian boxer to win a heavyweight crown piece was on hand to watch the latest news from his country to accomplish the feat.

Former Hall of Fame triple heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko enjoyed an in-ring view at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as compatriot Oleksandr Usyk snatched the WBA / IBF / WBO / titles IBO to Anthony Joshua. Usyk (19-0, 13KOs) delivered a boxing masterclass winning by scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 to become the third Ukrainian heavyweight to win a major title in the division.

“It was a great fight. Very clever [performance]”Elder Klitschko said in an on-air interview after the fight following the Sky Sports Box Office main event.” I’m very happy. Oleksandr did a perfect job.

Usyk was only fighting for the third time as a heavyweight, having previously been the undisputed cruiserweight champion where he won all major belts from the undefeated reigning titlists while fighting in their home country. Joshua (24-2, 22KO) suffered only one loss, but certainly enjoyed a regional advantage as he was clearly the crowd favorite among around 68,000 fans in attendance. The raucous cheers turned to deafening silence as Usyk racked up early laps and closed out strong in the battle for 2012 Olympic gold medalists and elite professional talent.

With this victory, Usyk joined Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko as the only Ukrainian boxers to win at least one heavyweight title.

Vitali Klitschko briefly held the WBO belt before losing to Chris Byrd via an injury stoppage in 2000 and enjoyed two separate WBC title reigns, both of which ended in retirement. The last of two outings from the sport came in 2013, months after the last fight of his career, in which he continued to establish himself as a political leader. Klitschko is currently in his second term as mayor of Kiev, where he has fought corruption, lobbied for political transparency and judicial reform.

Wladimir Klitschko held the WBO belt for almost three years before suffering a knockout loss to Corrie Sanders in 2003. He resurfaced on the title scene in 2006, leading the division for over nine years and collecting the titles. WBA / IBF / WBO and winning linear championship status before falling to Tyson Fury in November 2015. The final fight of his career ended in loss, trading knockdowns with Joshua before suffering an eleventh knockout loss. round in their April 2017 thriller.

For the first time in nearly six years, Ukraine can once again claim a heavyweight champion.

“Everyone is happy,” Klitschko said on behalf of his nation. “[Usyk is] second [in Ukraine] after Wladimir Klitschko at [become unified heavyweight champion]. “

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox


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