Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Oleksandr Usyk angrily refuted the notion that the punch which floored him in the fifth round of his world title defence against Daniel Dubois should have been considered a legitimate blow.

When Dubois’ right collided with Usyk’s beltline, the WBA, WBO and IBF champion sank to the canvas and, as the referee ruled the punch a low blow, he was given plenty of time to recover.

Usyk went on from there to drop Dubois twice and his British challenger was counted out in the ninth round.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk, left, lands a blow on Britain's Daniel Dubois during their world heavyweight title fight at Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. Oleksandr Usyk defends his WBC, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles for the first time in a year when he faces hard-hitting British challenger Daniel Dubois in a clash of styles. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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Usyk used his lead southpaw right to deliver the final knockdown

Dubois’ promoter Frank Warren is looking to appeal and wants the fight itself to be ruled a no contest or at least have a rematch ordered.

The unified heavyweight champion though was clear in his view. “You are not allowed to hit a man in [that area]. Listen, boxing it’s a sport for gentlemen, it’s not a street fight. It’s boxing,” he said afterwards.

Usyk also insisted he had not been wearing his shorts too high. “How can I be guilty in wearing shorts? The low blow comes not from wearing shorts like this but the low blow itself,” he said, before adding with a smile: “I’m ready to fight without shorts.”

His promoter, Alex Krassyuk went as far as saying Dubois was deliberately targeting Usyk below the belt.

“It’s difficult to express respect for the way they treated the fight. For the way they wanted to get the victory,” Krassyuk said.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after beating Britain's Daniel Dubois during their world heavyweight title fight at Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. Oleksandr Usyk defends his WBC, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles for the first time in a year when he faces hard-hitting British challenger Daniel Dubois in a clash of styles. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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Usyk celebrates his victory in front of his rapturous supporters

“Sometimes it happens, you hit someone with an illegal blow, it’s normal. When you keep doing this on purpose it means that you have some kind of dirty plan.

“Boxing is a pure art. It’s a pure sport and it has to stay pure. That’s why the guy has to deserve his rematch.”

Usyk’s team are still hoping for the undisputed heavyweight championship clash with Tyson Fury, who holds the WBC title.

Filip Hrgovic though is his next mandatory challenger and the Croatian has also been waiting his turn.

“Hrgovic is the mandatory but if we’re going to get the unification [against Fury] we’re going to go for the unification,” Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager, said.

“If the unification is not done of course Hrgovic will be next.”

Britain's Daniel Dubois, left, and Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk during their world heavyweight title fight at Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. Oleksandr Usyk defends his WBC, IBF and WBA heavyweight titles for the first time in a year when he faces hard-hitting British challenger Daniel Dubois in a clash of styles. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
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Whether Dubois’ low blow should have been allowed is the subject of much debate

Low blow debate

Whether the punch that put Usyk down was low or not, legitimate or legal was a major talking point after the heavyweight championship fight. It split opinion. Here is some of the reaction from the boxing world:

Liam Smith (former world champion)

“It was low. Whether his protector is high or not [which should have been pulled at the start of the fight if team Dubois felt it was high], it’s just below the waistband.

“Yes Usyk milked the time he was allowed but no one can answer whether he stays down if the ref counts it.”

Josh Taylor (former undisputed champion)

“Dubois should be champion after that body shot, definitely wasn’t a low blow. Usyk didn’t like [it] and took full advantage of the time given to recover. Did Dubois give up there and quit, or was it just a great jab?”

Lou DiBella (promoter)

“That low blow was very, very borderline. The more I watch it, the more it looks like a good, belt-line shot to me.

“As great as Usyk closed the show, he got away with one.”

Dave Coldwell (trainer)

“Many smart fighters buy time when hurt. I believe Usyk was hurt by a legal blow. But I also believe if the ref counts, he gets up because he has to.”

Matt Christie (Boxing News editor)

“It wasn’t a legal blow. And then Usyk sat there milking it for as long as he could. And then he got up and knocked out Dubois. And then everyone lost their mind.”

Liam Smith vs Chris Eubank Jr II is live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday. Book it now.

By Sandra Winters

Writer | Author | Wordsmith Passionate about crafting stories that captivate and inspire. Published author of [Book Title]. Dedicated to exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences through the power of words. Join me on this literary journey as we delve into the realms of imagination and uncover the beauty of storytelling.