Anthony Joshua has failed to retain his heavyweight titles after being beaten by Oleksandr Usyk.
Ukrainian Usyk won on a points decision after 12 rounds at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, meaning he takes Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO belts.
The 34-year-old became the third man, after Evander Holyfield and David Haye, to win world titles at cruiserweight then heavyweight.
Joshua finished the bout slumped against the ropes as his smaller foe handed him just the second defeat of his career in front of more than 65,000 boxing fans.
The judges scored the fight 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113, and Joshua seemed to accept the result as he walked over to Usyk’s corner.
Speaking to Sky Sports Box Office, Usyk said: “This means a lot for me. The fight went the way I expected it to go. There were moments when Anthony pushed me hard but it was nothing special.
“I had no objective to knock him out because my corner pushed me not to do that. In the beginning, I tried to hit him hard, but then I stuck to my job.
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“The only thing I wanted to do with this fight is to give praise to Jesus Christ.
“I have been working so hard since January in preparation for this fight, it took me half a year and I didn’t see my family for so long.
“I missed seeing them playing. I want to go home and be happy with my family and I’m not thinking about the rematch.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I don’t think AJ boxed a great fight tonight, Usyk boxed an excellent fight.
“It was all the things we worried about in the fight before, the over-thinking, trying to stand and box with him, and he took too many shots early.”
Joshua was hurt on several occasions during the bout and Hearn told BBC Radio Five Live: “He will go to hospital.
“I don’t know if he has broken his eye socket, it doesn’t look great.
“He said he couldn’t see after the ninth round, obviously he was getting tagged a lot as well.
“His power looked like it had left him, the tank was empty and it was only heart which kept him on his feet in the 12th round.”
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