In a highly anticipated mandatory heavyweight showdown in Poland, Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) emerged victorious by delivering a decisive ninth-round knockout against Daniel Dubois (19-2, 18 KOs). The fight marked Usyk's successful retention of the WBO, IBF and WBA titles.
The battle began with both fighters exhibiting energy and bouncing on their feet at mid-range, searching for openings to exploit. Usyk's superior hand speed allowed him to land the first blows. In the second round, a powerful left hand from Usyk visibly shook Dubois, and another solid left found its mark later in the round. Dubois responded with a probing jab and a well-placed uppercut to the body.
Dubois gained ground in the third round by effectively targeting Usyk's body and connecting with several shots. Usyk, known for his movement and boxing skills, showcased his finesse in the fourth round, while Dubois landed a solid right. The round saw both fighters having their moments in a closely contested exchange.
A significant turning point came in the fifth round when Usyk was knocked down from a low blow. He utilized the full five minutes of recovery time, with replay footage sparking debate over the blow's legality. Once the action resumed, Dubois aggressively pursued Usyk with combinations, but the Ukrainian fighter weathered the storm and finished the round strong.
The sixth round saw Usyk launching quick head punches, while Dubois aimed for body shots. The seventh round revealed Dubois landing impactful body shots that seemed to trouble Usyk. The back-and-forth action continued, making it a closely contested round. In the eighth round, Usyk pressed forward with a flurry of punches, eventually dropping Dubois with a well-timed combination towards the end of the round.
The ninth round saw both fighters trading blows, with Usyk showing aggression and intent to inflict damage. In a pivotal exchange, Usyk's short right hand connected with precision, causing Dubois to be counted out for the knockout victory.
The match showcased the skills and determination of both boxers, but it was Usyk's strategic approach and ability to capitalize on opportunities that secured his victory. As the heavyweight division continues to evolve, this showdown highlighted the level of competition and excitement within the sport.