Oleksandr Usyk took a second consecutive victory over Anthony Joshua to defend his unified WBO, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles.
On Saturday at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Usyk outpointed Joshua over the course of an epic 12 round battle.
Usyk triumphed on a split decision, taking it 116-112 and 115-113 on two cards. The third judge scored 115-113 for Joshua.
Usyk did have to endure tremendous pressure from an implacable Joshua, who delivered a vastly improved performance from their first fight in September.
Joshua assaulted Usyk’s body with power-punches, nearly breaking through in the ninth round. But Usyk responded in remarkable style, rallying to hurt Joshua in the next round.
He drove Joshua back with left hands and finished strongly, clipping Joshua with heavy counter-punches to close out the final seconds of the bout.
The decision was closer than expected but Usyk was a deserving winner.